DRY CRACKED HEELS

DRY CRACKED HEELS
By: Lora Baker, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA

Tis the season for dry, cracking skin. Dry, cracked heels are a common problem facing many people. When the skin becomes too dry and callused, it can crack. These cracks are called fissures.
Causes/Treatments:
Improper shoe fit can cause heel fissures. Shoes or boots that are too big can slip up and down on the heel and cause friction on the skin. This friction can cause dry calluses and ridges on the heels. It is important to have a proper fitting shoe.
Cold weather and indoor heating can cause heel dryness. These cause decreased moisture / humidity in the air causing dry skin. Try to use a house humidifier if you have one.
Improper care of feet can cause dry skin. Feet should be washed daily in warm soapy water. Water that is too hot dries out the skin by removing its natural oils. A pumice stone can be used in the shower to help remove some superficial dry skin on the heels. Feet should be dried completely after washing them. Lotions should then be used on the feet. These need to be used at least daily. A lotion containing urea can also be helpful to slough off dry skin and help it to hold in moisture.
Improper socks can also contribute to dry skin. Nylons do not allow proper ventilation. If you have dry, cracked skin, you should wear cotton or a cotton blend sock to keep a good moisture balance.
If skin is especially bad, you can try an overnight treatment with a thick lotion covered by a special sock lined with silicone.
If these tricks do not help, then it is time to see your podiatrist. Sometimes cracks are caused by fungus or other skin conditions best treated by a trained podiatrist.