Cracked heels are a common foot problem often caused by dry skin around the heel, which can be further complicated by the presence of callous around the heel. If left untreated, a crack in the skin may develop into a fissure (open, deep crack). This may in turn cause pain and bleeding, as well as increasing the possibility of an infection in that area.
Dry skin and callous can be caused by a number of systemic conditions including diabetes and an under-active thyroid. Poor footwear is also a contributing factor, especially in shoes with open backs.
The pain associated with cracked heels may be very little to begin with. However if they develop into open wounds, then walking may become very uncomfortable as well as being unsightly.
Self management of cracked heels:
- Following the advice of the podiatrist
- Proper fitting shoes with a closed back and good retaining medium
- Use of emollients such as Callusan to keep the skin in good condition
- Assessment to determine cause of cracked heels
- Removal of dry skin and callous; cracked heels may not heal if the overlying callous is not reduced
- Advice on footwear
- Advice on emollients like Callusan
- Treatment of open cracks along with advice on reducing the possibility of infection
- Cushioning insoles to relieve pain
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