Dry skin is a result of the skin cells losing water and here in Western Australia's often hot, warm dry climate this condition is very common. Dry skin is one of the underlying factors the cause cracked heels. Cracked heels are a common foot problem that are often referred to as heel fissures.
When dry skin around the heels becomes thick and hard (calloused) it loses flexibility and cracks. For most people this is a nuisance and a cosmetic problem but when the fissures or cracks are deep, they are painful to stand on and can even bleed - in severe cases this can become infected.
Cracked heels are common in people with naturally dry skin but can also be caused by:
- Prolonged standing (especially on hard floors)
- Being overweight (this increases the pressure and tension on the heel causing it to crack)
- Open back on the shoes (this allows the fat under the heel to expand sideways and increases the pressure to 'crack')
- Some medical conditions predispose to a drying skin (eg Diabetes)
- Skin conditions (eg psoriasis and eczema)
Treatment of dry skin and cracked heels involves removing the hard dry skin and replenishing moisture to the affected area. It can also involve changing footwear, use of specific rehydrating dressings and/or strapping, special moisturisers and in more severe cases regular redressing. Ask the professionals at Kingsway Podiatry about the best treatment for your dry skin and cracked heels.