If you have hard, thickened, painful skin on the bottom of your heels, you may have what is called cracked heels.
Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, is a common foot condition in which the skin on the bottom of the heels becomes excessively dry causing the skin to split and crack. Fissures are usually accompanied by thickened yellow or brown callus. These fissures can be painful and bleed and if persistent, can lead to infection.
This is probably the easiest thing you can do to help treat cracked heels. Applying moisturizer twice daily can really make a difference in your skin. Look for moisturizers that contain a handful percentage of urea. Urea helps to bring moisture into the skin as well as acts as a chemical exfoliant. For best results, apply right after washing your feet.
While in the shower or after a foot bath, use a pumice stone or file to gently exfoliate the heels of any dead skin cells and keep them smooth.
In general, avoid all harsh conditions such as excessively hot baths, exposure to very cold weather, or use of harsh soaps. Instead, opt for warm showers, wearing proper protective shoes and socks in the winter, and washing your feet using a gentle, scent free, moisturizing soap.
A Chiropodist is a primary health care provider who will be able to directly treat your heel fissures. This means, at your appointment, a Chiropodist will mechanically debride (removal of damaged tissue) or remove all calluses down to normal tissue to encourage closure of any cracks in the skin. If your cracked heels are accompanied with redness, swelling, pain, and you suspect infection, book an appointment with a Chiropodist for proper treatment.
Whether over the counter or custom made, insoles with extra cushioning around the heels can also work to prevent cracked heels. In cases where you have an occupation which requires you to be on your feet all day or work on hard surfaces, insoles may be a great option to look into.
If you have a medical condition such as Diabetes associated with cracked heels, do not try to treat them yourself. Rather, book an appointment with a Registered Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic who will assess your feet and provide the necessary treatments. Careful debridement as well as the appropriate wound dressings may be required to encourage healing and prevent infection.
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