Heel cracks are a common foot problem, which can become serious when the skin affected is thickened or callused.
Also known as ‘heel fissures’, cracked heels manifest at the junction of the skin of the bottom of the foot and the skin of the side of the foot. Cracks can be limited to just one side of the heel, or wrap around the entire heel.
What are the causes of Heel Cracks?
There are several possible causes of cracked heels, including:
- prolonged standing at work or at home, especially on hard floors
- excess weight, which increases the pressure on the fat pad under the heel, causing it to expand sideways, resulting in increased pressure that causes the skin to crack
- open-backed shoes, which allow the fat pad under the heel to expand sideways, resulting in increased pressure that causes the skin to crack
- medical conditions that cause drying of the skin, such as diabetes or an under-active thyroid
- skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
- naturally dry skin
- walking patterns that increase pressure on the heel
How are Heel Cracks treated?
Cracks occurring within a callus may become deep, painful, infected and begin to bleed if left untreated, and in such cases it is important you see your podiatrist. Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of your condition, and may include:
- removal of thickened skin to promote healing
- prescription of creams and socks to help moisturise the affected area
- strapping to ‘hold’ the cracks together during the healing process
- footwear advice and fitting
- prescription orthotics to correct any problems in foot alignment that may be causing calluses to develop at the heel
If you suffer from painful or unsightly cracked heels, contact us.