What are Cracked Heels?
Cracked heels are a common problem and are sometimes referred to as ’heel fissures’. Cracked heels are usually caused by a build up of dry skin, and are made more complicated if the skin around the edge of the heel is calloused (thick). For many people, this is a nuisance and generally a cosmetic problem. However, when the cracks or fissures are deep it can be quite painful to walk or stand on and the skin may bleed. In severe cases the fissures may result in an infection.
What causes Cracked Heels?
Some people tend to have naturally dry skin that makes them more susceptible to cracks in their heels. But the thick calloused skin around the heel is at a higher risk of cracking due to mechanical factors, such as the way you walk, which increases the pressure in that area. When you stand on your foot the pressure pushes the fat pad down forcing it to spread sideways. If the skin isn’t supple allowing this expansion, the skin cracks.
The most common causes of cracked heels are:
- A lot of time spent on your feet
- Going barefoot often
- Wearing sandals or open backed shoes regularly
- Being overweight as this places added pressure on the feet
- Diabetes or a circulatory disorders
- Physical disorders of the feet
What do Cracked Heels look like?
Determining whether you have cracked heels is quite easy to recognise and diagnose. The skin around the edge of the heel is normally dry, and may have a thick callous which appears as a yellow or dark brown discoloration, especially along the inside border of the heel. Cracks or fissures are usually quite obvious, and may sometimes appear white or yellow.
You may have cracked heels or be at risk of developing cracked heels if:
- The heel of the foot is very dry
- The skin around the edges of the heels is calloused with visible cracks
- If the cracks are fairly deep there may be pain upon weight bearing
- Bleeding and infections are present
Below are some images to to help you identify if you are suffering from Cracked Heels:
How are Cracked Heels Treated?
Attempts at “home surgery” using scissors or a razor to remove dead skin should be avoided at all costs. This can cause serious injury and may lead infections. It is highly recommended that you consult with Medical Pedicure in regards to an appropriate treatment.
Medical Pedicure will try to determine the cause of the problem and assist in it’s prevention, remove any hard or dead skin using proper instruments in a sterile environment, recommend appropriate footwear and prescribe foot creams.