Cracked heels and heel fissures start out as dry skin and turn into a painful health problem.
They occur when the skin on the edge of the heel becomes too dry, hardens into a callus and then starts to crack.
Cracked Heels Become Fissures
These “fissures” can be difficult to heal, so it is important to catch this before the cracks appear. They can be particularly dangerous for patients with diabetes or diseases that compromise the immune systems, such as patients with cancer or HIV.
Cracked heels and heel fissures are most common among patients who have dry skin, flat feet, high arched feet, heel spurs or inactive sweat glands.
We also see them a lot with people who walk barefoot or wear flip flops or sandals often, who live in very dry climates, or who are obese.
- If the edges of your heels are dry, scaly and hardening, apply a heavy moisturizing lotion each night before bed and sleep with socks on. We recommend using a moisturizing lotion for dry and cracked heels.
- A product called Heels So Smooth is excellent for softening the heels. They are sort of like socks except the material only covers the low ankle, heel and arch. Your toes are free to wiggle! The gel substance in the heel material works on softening your heels as you sleep.
- You can also use a pumice stone or loofah sponge soap to gently exfoliate the callus each night before applying the lotion.Be careful not to rub so hard that it causes pain or bleeding. For this reason, we do NOT suggest using a popular product called the Ped Egg. Diabetics should take extra care with a pumice stone because some have a condition called neuropathy and they may not be able to tell the amount of pressure they are applying, which could damage the skin and lead to other complications. The natural loofah sponge soap is a gentle exfoliation option.
If your feet are showing heel fissures, there are several treatment options. We can treat them with a special liquid bandage that will hold the skin together and promote healing.
In severe cases, we may trim away the callused skin (do not try this at home) or give you a prescription for a stronger softening agent. We may also recommend orthotics, heel pads or cushions to stabilize the foot and prevent the rubbing that can cause cracked heels.