What are they?
Cracked heels are a common form of foot pain most often seen in the summer when people wear more sandals and thongs or flip flops. Cracking or splitting in the skin is most often seen around the heels of the feet.
What causes them?
When the skin around the heel becomes dry, it loses it’s suppleness and elasticity, and often begins to split.
This condition is commonly associated with heel calluses which is simply a build-up of dead skin. The cracks in the heel can become quite painful depending on their severity, and may bleed and become infected.
Cracked heels often occur when wearing a particular type of footwear, such as thongs, sling or open backed sandals, or bare feet. The skin around the heel is exposed and allows callus and dry skin formation. The sole of the shoe can contribute to callus formation.
Cracked heels are a common complaint during the warmer summer months.
How are they treated?
- See your Podiatrist to have the heel callus removed.
- Regular treatment is recommended to identify and prevent potential problems.
- Your Podiatrist will recommend a moisturizer to be used on a daily basis. This is usually a urea based cream.
- An antiseptic liquid may be needed if the cracks are deep or infected.
- Appropriate footwear should be worn. Avoid the prolonged use of thongs or bare feet, and wear sandals with enclosed heels whenever possible. Wear stockings or socks when possible.
- Adequate water intake and essential fatty acids within your diet (e.g. Omega 3 fatty acids) may assist in preventing dryness and cracking by helping to keep the skin hydrated and more supple.
Referral to other health professionals may be necessary where this condition is caused by nutritional or other medical disorders.
Your podiatrist is most often the best person to assist you when it comes to cracked heels so call your local Podiatry Care practitioner if you suffer from cracked heels.