Do you have dry, cracked heels? Does it cause you pain or discomfort?

Heels tend to get very dry, especially for those with diabetes and when it’s cold outside. Dry cracked heels can be a big problem and deep cracks in the skin are called fissures. These fissures are cuts in the skin that can get infected, so it’s important to make sure these heal quickly.

Why do people get cracked heels?

Usually dry, cracking skin is due to cold weather air, but there are some other things that can contribute to heel fissuring. Diabetes, advanced age, kidney disease, thyroid disorders, and skin conditions like psoriasis can contribute to this condition. Additionally, poorly fitting shoes can cause structural imbalance that produces callusing of the heels. Washing the feet in hot water can strip the natural oils on the skin and leave the skin dry and rough as well.  It is important to see your healthcare provider or podiatrist for an evaluation.

What can be done about dry cracked heels?

Moisturizing the skin if the heels is very important. If there are deep cuts, fissures, in the skin using an antibiotic ointment to help heal the cut is important. Using a topical keratolytic cream, like the Kera 42 we carry at the office, is an excellent way to remove dead, dry skin that prevents proper healing. Using a pumice stone is a good idea additionally, however it is important not to use any sharp objects to take down the built-up skin.

Conservative treatment of dry, cracked heels is easily prevented by wearing adequate supportive shoes and with regular use of moisturizers. Ideally, the goal is to prevent cracks from first forming.

See your podiatrist for more information on heel fissures, how to prevent and treat them. Don’t forget to check your feet daily!

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