Cracked heels, also called heel fissures, are commonly caused by dry skin that leads to small breaks in the thickened calluses of our heels. Our heels are susceptible to excess wear and tear because of the forces placed on them everyday from standing and walking. Cracks in heels can become deep, painful and bleed if attention isn’t paid to moisturizing and protecting them.
Common causes of cracked heels:
As we move, pressure is placed on our heel edges as they contact the insides of our shoes and from walking on the hard ground. Wearing open back shoes allows the fat pads on our heels to spread and shift, which can put more pressure on either side of the heel.
Other causes of cracked heels may be age-related due to loss of skin elasticity, prolonged standing in damp or wet conditions or other skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis. Cracked heels can occur on just one foot or one side but typically they occur to both heels.
What to do:
Soak your feet or take a shower before bed to clean away dirt. Rub your heels firmly with a dry towel to remove any flaking skin.
For mild cracking, rub a deep moisturizing type of lotion into your heels. Wear a pair of cotton socks to bed to help retain the moisture. Remember to moisturize in the morning again before putting on your shoes and socks.
For more severe cracking and dryness, podiatrists sometimes recommend using a stronger exfoliating moisturizing lotion such as Kerazol. Again, cover your heels with cotton socks to sleep in. If your heel cracking is more extensive, special socks that contain mineral oil or Silipos Soft Skin Heel Sleeves may be tried. Both products can be purchased online or from a dermatologist or podiatrist.
If your heel skin is still too thick on your heels then moisturizing lotions cannot penetrate. Try using a pumice stone every other day to remove the calloused skin. Pumice stones are roughened circular shaped stones that can gently remove thickened skin without harm.
The above regime should be done nightly for one to two weeks then continue using moisturizers and wearing socks once a week thereafter. Use a pumice stone as needed.