26_Cracked-HeelsDry, cracked heels are not only unsightly, but they can also be a source of pain and embarrassment. When the fissures in your heel become so dry and cracked that bleeding or pain when walking occurs, it may be time to seek professional care from your podiatrist at Main Line Foot & Ankle Center.  Left untreated, heel fissures can become so deep and painful that it leads to an infection.

Cracked heels are most commonly caused by splitting of the skin as a result of severe dryness or thickening of a callus on your heel. Severe cases of dry, cracked heels can occur for numerous reasons, including:

  • Cold winter weather or dry climates
  • Dehydration
  • Having diabetes
  • Scrubbing feet too harshly
  • Soaking in a hot bath or shower for too long or too frequently
  • Not moisturizing the feet
  • Increased weight
  • Walking barefoot or wearing open-backed sandals or shoes
  • Prolonged standing at work or home
  • Chronic skin problems, such as eczema or psoriasis

Here are a few tips for keeping heels from cracking:

  • Moisturize the feet daily
  • Avoid walking barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes
  • Opt for mild soaps that won’t dry out your heels
  • Increase your water intake to keep your body hydrated
  • Limit time in the shower as hot water dries out the skin
  • Use a pumice stone or file as directed by your doctor to gently decrease the thick layer of skin

When to Visit Main Line Foot & Ankle Center

What may begin as an annoyance or simple cosmetic issue, cracked heels can lead to pain and serious infection if not managed properly. Most cases of dry, cracked heels will get better with a little foot pampering or over-the-counter foot cream.

When heels are severely cracked or painful and conservative treatments aren’t effective, visit Main Line Foot & Ankle Center. People with diabetes are at an especially high risk for health problems and should not wait to have dry feet cared for. Severely cracked heels need moisture to avoid pain, bleeding and infection. A podiatrist can work with you to relieve your cracked heels with conservative treatment options.