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 and therefore, loses its elasticity, causing the skin to split and crack. Today, we will be answering some of the most frequently asked questions regarding cracked heels.
YES. You can still get cracked heels during the winter season. In fact, cracked heels are usually worse in the winter than in the summer. This is because the skin is usually the driest in the winter when humidity is low and the temperature is cold. In general, both extremes in weather and environmental temperature can exacerbate cracked heels.
Vaseline is an occlusive ingredient, meaning it creates a film or barrier where applied, often used to protect the skin and seal in existing moisture. With that being said, Vaseline does not hydrate the skin as it does not add moisture. Therefore, by itself, it is not the most effective way to moisturize the cracked skin on your feet.
A urea-based cream is the best moisturizer for cracked heels and for overall dry feet. Urea is an organic compound that works as a keratolytic and a humectant emollient. This means it exfoliates the skin cells to allow for better product penetration as well as softens and hydrates the skin as it attracts and holds onto water. Look for moisturizers that contain 10-25% urea as an active ingredient. Using a urea-based cream regularly as well as a foot file to remove dead skin cells will help to manage the calluses on your heels.
See a Registered Chiropodist or Foot Specialist for cracked heels if the calluses are thick and you cannot manage them yourself with moisturizers and a foot file. If there is pain, signs of an infection, or you have diabetes, see a chiropodist right away.
Cracked heels are a sign of dehydrated skin and increased tensile stress on the heels. Tensile stress occurs when an object is under load and the active forces on the object are trying to stretch it. In other words, as load increases on the heels, the skin is not able to withstand these pressures and will tear, especially if the skin is dry and callused. Factors that influence the occurrence of cracked heels include but are not limited to peripheral vascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis/eczema, tinea pedis, and faulty foot mechanics or gait abnormalities. Talk to your chiropodist about the possibility of these additional factors contributing to your cracked heels.
If you would like to have a Registered Chiropodist look at your cracked heels and provide treatment to help manage them.
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