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Cracked Heels

Cracked heels result from tiny splits in the skin (fissuring), that occur when an area is dry and damaged. They are more apparent during the warmer months when people are likely to be barefoot or in open heeled sandals. In most cases, the cracks are minor and cause minimal problems, however, may be unattractive to look at.

If left untreated, the heel fissures may become deeper which can lead to discomfort and pain when walking. In severe cases the affected area can become infected.

What are the symptoms?

Besides the physical appearance of dry and cracked skin around the heels, you may notice the following symptoms:

– Pain and discomfort
– Itchiness in the area
– Flaky skin
– Warmth, redness and swelling may present itself if there is an infection

Causes:

There are several stages to the development of cracked heels and details to consider, which can affect the condition of the skin. These include being on your feet for extended periods of time, unsupportive footwear, walking around barefoot, obesity, taking long, hot showers, chronic conditions such as diabetes, the skins natural moisture levels, age, and general health status of the individual.

Who’s at risk?

Anyone can develop heel fissures, especially when exposed to the causes above.

Over time, the cracks can become deeper and may begin to bleed. In severe cases, the cracks can lead to infection. Those who are diabetic and suffer with cracked heels are at risk of contracting a diabetic foot ulceration.

Treatment:

What is the best way to treat dry skin? Moisturising!

We recommend applying cream to the affected area 2 – 3 times a day. The best solution is moisturising just before bed, popping some socks on, and allowing this to sit and soak into the skin overnight.

Here at the clinic, we are able to remove any hard skin around the area, apply padding and/or dressings to the opening of cracks and recommend our favourite creams and products to encourage healing. Appropriate footwear, technology/biomechanics to assess the way one walks to reduce the pressure to avoid callus build up.

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