Cracked Heels and Heel Fissures
Cracked Heels are a common foot problem also referred to as 'heel
fissures'. Cracked heels are commonly caused by dry skin (xerosis). The
symptoms are worse when the skin around the rim of the heel is thick
Figure 1 - Heel fissures (Cracked Heels)
Callus is simply a build up of skin that forms in response to irritation
or friction, for example where a shoe repeatedly rubs against one part
of the foot. Callus can be thick or thin and forms in many shapes and
patterns. Thickening Callous can be a cosmetic problem when it forms on
Cracks or fissures that occur within the Callous can be more serious and
if left untreated and may become deep, painful, infected and begin to
bleed. Heel fissure are found at the junction of two types of skin; the
skin of the bottom of the foot and the skin of the side of the foot.
Heel fissures can be limited to just one side of the heel or wrap around
the entire heel.
In some cases a person may have naturally dry skin that increases the
risk of Cracked Heels. Callous that forms around the heel is prone to
cracking due to mechanical factors that increase pressures in that area
e.g the way a person walks.
Other factors that can be involved in the cause of Cracked Heels
- Prolonged standing at work or home, especially on hard floors.
- Being overweight - this increases the pressure on the normal fat pad
under the heel, causing it to expand sideways. If the skin is not supple
and flexible, the pressures may cause the skin to crack.
- Open-back on shoes. This allows the fat under the heel to expand
sideways and the pressure may cause the skin to crack.
- Certain medical conditions cause the skin to become dry and cracked eg
diabetes or an underactive thyroid.
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and
treat this condition. If the cracking is severe or fissures have formed
you should make an appointment to see us in our Seattle office.
Treatment may include:
- Investigation of the cause of the problem, so this can be addressed.
- Removal of the hard thick skin to promote healing. We may prescribe
special creams and socks that will help to deeply moisturizer the area.
- If Cracked Heels are very painful, strapping may be used to 'hold' the
cracks together during the healing process.
- Advice about footwear and prevention of the problem.
- Orthotics or arch supports may be recommended to alter the way you
walk to prevent callous from developing on the heels.
Home Remedies for Cracked Heels and Dry Skin
For effective self treatment of cracked heels there are three critical steps:
- Apply a moisturizer before bed at night.
- Trap the moisture in the skin of feet overnight by wearing a special sock that prevents the moisture from evaporating.
- Remove the excess thick skin.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Treat Cracked Heels and Dry Skin on the Feet
Here’s step-by-step instructions on how get rid of that cracked skin. Use the following home treatment plan for 3 weeks. If you haven’t seen improvement in that time, see your podiatrist:
- Soak your feet or take a bath or shower before bed,
Apply a deep penetrating exfoliator and moisturizer: We recommend
Kerasal Professional Exfoliating Moisturizing Foot Ointment. Kerasal is an extra-strength formula that repairs severely cracked heels and softens even the roughest, driest feet. The dual action formula both exfoliates and moisturizes in one step. For severely dry, rough, cracked heels and feet. Available only from podiatrists. Apply after bathing.
Cover the foot with a moisture barrier sock such as
Silipos gel therapy socks.
Wear the sock overnight. The socks are lined with a soft polymer fragrance-free gel that comfortably conforms to your feet while gradually releasing medical grade mineral oil to moisturize and lubricate the skin. The gel is hypoallergenic, does not support bacterial growth and has been dermatologist tested. The cotton/nylon/Lycra socks are latex free and have a non-restrictive cuff that keeps them s from falling down but does not restrict circulation.
Or use this
Soft Skin Heel Sleeve. Cover the foot at night with this heel sleeve that leaves the toes exposed.
- Use the moisturizer and sock every night for 2 weeks. Then use them once or twice per week to prevent the return of dry skin and fissures.
- Remove the dry and thick skin:
Remove the dry and thick skin: Every other day for the first
two weeks remove some of the thick skin. Use
Pumice Stones. These unique shaped stones smooth
calluses and removes dry skin on heels and toes in seconds,
without the use of harsh chemicals or dangerous blades.
Use a rotary tool such as the
PediNova Electric Nail and Foot Care Kit to thin the callus. This professional quality callus and nail thinning tool allows you to thin your nail with a tool used by podiatrists. Four speeds including 10,000 RPM that allows easy thinning of the nails with no vibration. 10 tools including long-lasting diamond burrs are included For perfectly thin nails, use this tool to grind the nail every week or so. Also good for calluses. Made with incomparable German technology. This is by far the best nail thinning tool we have found. There are less expensive ones available, but they don't have enough power or burr quality to effectively thin the nails.
This home remedy
works for treatment of thick and cracked skin. You can find these items online at
Healthy feet allow for regular exercise and a healthier lifestyle. If
you have cracked heels that are not relieved by the suggestions above, make an appointment to see us in our
Seattle office. We can provide you with conservative treatment
options that will relieve your pain.
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Douglas Hale, DPM & Lawrence Huppin, DPM
Foot and Ankle Center of Washington, Seattle
The material provided on this web site is for informative purposes only.
If you need specific medical advice, please contact the office for an appointment.