Are your heels cracked and sore at the moment? Are they stopping you from doing things? Cracked heels are a very common problem at this time of year when the weather is hotter. There are many things we can do to help your cracked heels, let us tell you more!
How Do My Heels Become Cracked?
Everyone has a protective padding of fatty tissue under their heels. This fatty tissue aids in shock absorption and protects the bones in our feet. When we walk, force goes through our heel, causing this fatty padding to splay out from under your heel. When your skin is dry or fragile, your skin becomes less elastic. This means that when you step, instead of the skin stretching and splaying out, it cracks. These cracks can then become deeper, sorer, and can lead to infection in some cases.
Why Do My Heels Become Cracked?
There are many reasons why a persons’ heels may crack. These include:
- Poor Footwear – wearing open backed shoes such as thongs increases your risk of heel cracks. A shoe with an enclosed back will help to prevent the fatty padding from splaying out, therefore reducing the likelihood of the skin cracking. Enclosed footwear also helps to keep more moisture in the skin, preventing the skin from drying out and becoming less elastic.
- Dry Skin – Skin that is dry or fragile is less elastic, therefore will crack instead of stretching.
- Aging skin – As we age, we naturally lose the plumpness in our heel fatty padding, meaning it is thinner and therefore more likely to crack. Our skin also becomes less elastic and drier as we age, making it more prone to cracking.
- Deficiencies – lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, and poor water intake, can affect the health of our skin and lead to more dryness and inelasticity.
- Medical Conditions- some medical conditions can increase the dryness of your skin, leading to more cracking. This may include diabetes mellitus, eczema/dermatitis, obesity, hypothyroidism.
- Genetics – unfortunately some people are just more prone to dry and inelastic skin on their feet, leaving them more likely to experience cracking.
What Can I Do About My Cracked Heels?
The good news is, we’re here to help! There are many ways that your Podiatrist can help to combat the problem of your cracked heels.
Step 1: See your Podiatrist.
Your Podiatrist can assess your feet and provide hands on treatment including debridement of the heel cracks, instantly improving the condition of your skin, and improving any pain you’re experiencing. As well as this, your Podiatrist will come up with a treatment plan for you and advise other ways in which you can help prevent your heels from cracking.
Step 2: Implement a skin care routine
Applying an emollient to your feet daily can make the world of difference. In severe cases, twice daily application in the morning and the evening is recommended to help improve the condition of your skin. Your feet have an extra layer of skin on them compared to the rest of your body, therefore the emollient you use needs to be strong and thick enough to penetrate this extra layer. Emollients made for feet are better for feet, at Armidale Podiatry we recommend the Walker’s brand of foot emollients.
Step 3: Assess your footwear and make any changes
Your Podiatrist can help you determine whether your footwear is suitable and whether any changes are needed. If you’re someone who loves wearing thongs and open-toed shoes, you may need to switch these for enclosed shoes to help better manage your skin problems.
Step 4: Manage any other contributing factors
Again, your podiatrist will help to determine if any other factors are adding to your cracked heels. They may suggest a review with your GP to manage any underlying health problems. They may also suggest lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise related changes.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to your cracked and sore heels, then book an appointment online or give us a call on 6771 9142. We’d love to help you achieve your dream summer feet!