Cracked Heels

Description

Cracked heels are a common foot problem also referred to as ‘heel fissures’. Cracked heels are commonly caused by dry skin and is made worse if the skin around the edge of the heel is thick (callused). For some, this is just an unsightly condition, however for others, the heel fissures can become deep and painful and in more severe cases bleed or become infected.

Causes

  • Some people are prone to naturally dry skin which increases their risk of cracked heels.
  • Long periods of standing, particularly on hard surfaces
  • Being overweight puts excess pressure on the fat pad under the heel which causes it to expand sideways and can result in heel fissures.
  • Open-back shoes can contribute to cracked heels because they allow the heel to expand sideways.
  • Certain medical conditions can cause dry skin, as can skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

Symptoms

Deep cracks, bleeding and pain in the heel are signs of heel fissures.

Treatment

For minor cases of dry, cracked heels, at-home treatments such as heel balms and pumice stones can be beneficial. However, for deep and/or painful fissures, seeing a podiatrist is strongly recommended. This is particularly important for people with diabetes or other circulatory conditions, as their decreased sensation and impaired wound healing can lead to more serious complications.

At Ned Buckley Podiatry, we offer the following treatments for cracked heels:

  • Removal of the dry, cracked skin with specialist instruments
  • Prescribe appropriate emollients to improve skin suppleness and elasticity
  • Management plan including home care as well as follow-up treatments
  • Offer advice on prevention