- 1 What Causes Cracked Heels?
- 2 Medical Causes
- 3 What Symptoms Can Accompany Cracked Heels?
- 4 Preventing Cracked Heels
- 5 Top DIY Methods for Treating Heel Fissures
- 6 Finally
One of the most gratifying aspects of the transition from cold to warm weather would be the ability to change your footwear to suit your lifestyle. However, wearing open and unsupportive shoes can compromise the structure of your feet. Heel fissures develop at the exterior sections of the foot. Usually, the condition is accompanied by issues such as calluses, whereby the skin appears cracked or damaged. For people with severe heel fissures, the cracks can lead to pain, especially in relation to weight. More so, severe cases can lead to issues such as cellulitis.
The foot health complication is often accompanied by dry skin, which can be attributed to several factors. The heels also provide support for the body during the process of walking. To provide shock absorption benefits, the heel has a fatty pad that occurs under the heel bone. Moving around causes stress on the fat pad, thereby increasing the chances of suffering from heel fissures. The good news is that addressing your cracked heels does not have to be a complicated process. In fact, medical professionals might provide several DIY remedies that are highly effective. You may also opt for alternative medications as well.
What Causes Cracked Heels?
The first sign that you have cracked heels is that you may have thick or dry skin referred to as callouses on the heel area. As you move around, the collection of fat around the heel enlarges, thereby affecting the structure of the heel. The inconsistency in the structure of the heel leads to secondary issues when left unchecked. As a result, you might experience cracked callouses. Other significant factors that can lead to cracked heels include:
- Standing in one position for several hours – maintaining a constant position for a long duration causes pressure and stress on the foot area. The excessive force can lead to damage around the foot area.
- Moving around barefoot or with sandals with open backs – walking around harsh terrains such as gravel can easily lead to wear and tear of the heels.
- Take long showers or standing in water for long durations – taking long showers causes the heel to become excessively supple, thereby leading to damage.
- Using abrasive soaps that can strip the natural skin oils – using these types of soap and detergent can affect the structure of the heel.
- Shoes that don’t support the heels or fit appropriately – wearing tight or small shoes can lead to increased pressure around the foot area. The burden then causes damage around the foot. Go with comfortable shoes for a while, if your feet have suffered from too tight footwear. You might also try sneakers, which are usually not very tight fitting.
- Dry skin issues due to factors such as climate – dry skin that comes about as a result of the environment can affect the structure of the skin. For instance, people who walk around in dry areas bare feet are more likely to get heel fissures.
- Lack of adequate moisturization – exposing the feet to arid conditions increases the likelihood of suffering from heel fissures.
There various therapeutic factors associated with the issue of heel fissures. For instance, poor circulation and high blood sugar levels are known to cause dry skin. Furthermore, any damage to the nerves may compromise your ability to determine when the skin is cracked or dry. Other major health issues associated with cracked heels include:
- Lack of vitamins in the body – otherwise referred to as nutrient deficiency, this condition can affect the ability of the skin layer to heal after damage
- Fungus and bacterial infection – various types of feet fungus and bacteria can cause the feet to become dry, thereby leading to secondary conditions.
- Psoriasis – this is a common skin complication that compromises the life cycle of skin cells. The difficulties affect the ability of the skin cells to develop on the surface of the skin.
- Hypothyroidism and juvenile plantar dermatosis – both of these health complications affect the ability of the skin to recover or repair after extensive damage
- Pregnancy and obesity – pregnancy can cause a hormonal imbalance, and it also places extra weight around the foot area. More so, having excessive weight can also increase the likelihood of suffering from heel fissures.
What Symptoms Can Accompany Cracked Heels?
The first symptom of cracked heels is the occurrence of dry, thick, and hard skin around the exterior section of the heel. Otherwise referred to as the callus, the condition might appear as a dark brown or yellow discolored and cracked skin area. During the initial stages, the small cracks over the callus might be highly visible. Left unchecked and as more stress occurs on the heel, the cracks increase in depth, and might eventually compromise one’s ability to stand or walk.
More so, another secondary issue would be the cracks would be so deep, that they would lead to bleeding. The bleeding can cause wounds, which can be prone to infections since the feet are exposed to high traffic floors. For those who have severe fissures, the cracked sections of the feet might experience infections and lead to issues such as cellulitis. The condition must be treated by a medical professional, particularly by using antibiotics. The cracked heels are a specific concern for patients who have diabetes or neuropathic damage.
Preventing Cracked Heels
The footwear you use plays a significant role. If you are susceptible to heel fissures, then it’s vital that you invest in proper shoes that offer optimal heel support. If possible, consider putting on shoes that have a thick and sturdy heel that can cushion the heels effectively. Broadly speaking, avoid the following if you are prone to heel fissures:
- Sandals and flip flops that don’t provide optimal support for the feet wear shoes that provide optimal support for the foot area
- Shoes that have skinny and tall heels that can cause the heel to expand sideways – wearing these shoes regularly can have adverse effects on several aspects of the body.
- Evaluate the feet regularly for any heel issues – you have to evaluate your feet daily to be able to identify the problem before it occurs
- Use custom shoe inserts or orthotics to provide added heel support – these are products that are specifically designed to conform to the structure of the feet.
- Use high quality and clinically proven socks – these types of socks are particularly useful for people who experience chronic heel fissures
- Use a pumice regularly – use the pumice after showers to reduce the issues associated with skin thickening. The pumice helps to reduce the heel`s exposure to damage and strain
Top DIY Methods for Treating Heel Fissures
There are various Do it Yourself methods that you can use to address this particular foot health complication. Using the DIY methods is reasonable because you save extra cash, and an inconveniencing trip to the clinic. Combined with the proper lifestyle approach, and you can easily eliminate the problem in a few weeks if not days. Among some of the commonly preferred treatment methods include:
Improve Water Intake
If you experience cracked heels, the first step is to not only tend to the feet – but you should also enhance your water intake. Ensure that you consume sufficient water because water helps to improve the health of your skin. The ideal water for addressing skin complications would be mineral water. Packed full of essential minerals, this type of water helps to improve the performance of the immune system. On average, the skin is the largest body organ, and it plays a significant role in the regulation of temperature. The loss of water through evaporation is a substantial body process. However, excessive loss of water increases the likelihood of suffering from heel fissures. Preferably, get a supply of mineral water to help provide additional nutrients for the body.
Whether you want to prevent heel fissures or treat them, the solution is usually similar – ensure the feet stay moisturized. In this case, applying high-quality moisturizer twice a day can go a long way in reducing the effects of the condition. However, the key to the success of using the cream application approach is to maintain consistency. Eliminating the heel fissures might require several days of consistent moisturizer application. Applying the moisturizer before and after bed works best. This approach will help to improve the retention of fluids in the skin, thereby minimizing the loss of water. Among some of the standard useful brands of skin moisturizers for the feet include Aveeno, Lubriderm, and CeraVe.
Buy Moisturizing Socks
Being able to address the condition of heel fissures requires a dynamic and all-round approach to achieve the best results. Therefore, using moisturizing socks is also an essential technique for getting rid of heel fissures. The moisturizing socks refer to thickened socks that help to lock in moisture around the foot area. However, these are not regular everyday socks and are not necessarily comfortable for everyday wear. Despite the lack of comfort with moisturizing socks, they can go a long way in reducing the prevalence rates of the complication.
Consider Using a Foot Soak
Soaking the feet is also another useful technique of getting rid of heel fissures. To be specific, the foot soak helps to expose the feet to useful disinfecting compound, and it also helps moisturize the affected area. There are various types of DIY and over the counter products for addressing the problem. However, consider using the foot soak when your feet show significant improvement. Among some of the commonly used foot soak procedures include tea tree oil, coconut oil, honey, Listerine, and more. By using the foot soak, you reduce the issues associated with excessive scrubbing. A good recommendation would also be to soak the feet two times every day.
Exfoliate Using a Pumice Stone
A pumice refers to a unique volcanic rock that comprises of rough and textured stone. The unique physical properties of the rock make it suitable for addressing heel fissures. When you are exfoliating the feet after soaking, it is recommended that you use a pumice stone. Using the stone in this manner helps to reduce the occurrence of dry patches or calluses. Even though calluses can be protective, an overgrowth can compromise the structure of the heel. You should also maintain high levels of hygiene when using the pumice stone. Rinse it thoroughly, and clean it using disinfectant products each time. This way, you reduce any issues associated with dead skin or bacterial accumulation.
Avoiding Irritating the Heel Fissures Further
When you notice any deterioration along with the heels, then ensure that you avoid picking or pocking the affected area. Avoid peeling off the dead skin using the hands, and consider using a callus to perform the process. Using the DIY method of addressing heel fissures can be useful, provided that you proceed with caution. In reality, it’s your medical practitioner who should be treating your wounds because they have the skills to handle such issues. If the heel fissures are severe, consider taking a few days off from work or regular physical activity. This way, you can provide the body with sufficient time to respond to and heal the affected area.
Consider Investing in Closed Back Shoes
Putting on shoes and sandals with open backs are perhaps the most widespread causes of heel fissures. In particular, the shoes with open backs cause strain and pressure on the feet. The excessive stress and strain on the heels then lead to cracks and damage to the skin area. As such, consider wearing open shoes on an occasional basis. A better alternative would be to invest in shoes that are padded and offer adequate comfort for the foot area.
Foot health complications are shared amongst the general population – they can affect both men and women. In particular, heel fissures are common, and you can easily prevent or manage the problem through various approaches. For heel fissures, prevention and treatment methods are pretty much the same thing. For instance, wearing proper footwear and consuming the proper diet are all important in managing the foot health complication. More importantly, you might have to seek consultation from a general practitioner when the condition persists through the regular treatments.