Why Do Cracked Heels Develop?

cracked heelsCracked heels, also known as heel fissures, are a common foot problem that can be discomforting, embarrassing, and even painful. While they are more prevalent in senior citizens, cracked heels can affect people of all ages. Understanding why they form can help you maintain healthy, comfortable feet.

In this brief article brought to you by Mountain Spring Podiatry, we explore the causes of cracked heels and some practical tips for prevention and care. If you’d rather consult with a licensed foot doctor, then call Mountain Spring Podiatry to schedule a convenient appointment or arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible.

How do cracked heels form?

Cracked heels develop when the skin around your heels becomes dry, thick, and less elastic, causing it to split under pressure. There are several factors that can contribute to this condition.

The primary cause of cracked heels is dry skin. The skin on your heels is naturally thicker than other parts of your body and tends to lose moisture more quickly. When the skin dries out, it loses its flexibility and can crack under the pressure of walking or standing.

Even if your skin is strong and healthy, spending long hours on your feet, especially on hard surfaces increases the pressure on your heels and can lead to cracking. Excess weight also adds extra pressure on your feet, giving us another reason to maintain a healthy weight.

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, eczema, and hypothyroidism, can cause dry skin and also make you more prone to cracked heels. Diabetic patients, in particular, need to be mindful about foot care due to the risk of complications.

Finally, there’s the natural effect of aging. As we age, our skin naturally loses moisture and becomes less elastic, making older adults more susceptible to cracked heels.

Preventative and foot care tips

Good foot hygiene, moisturizing, and choosing the right footwear can go a long way in keeping your heels healthy and smooth. Let’s look at 5 practical tips.

  • Regular Exfoliation: Remove dead skin cells by exfoliating your feet regularly. Use a pumice stone, foot scrub, or exfoliating brush to gently slough off the thickened skin.
  • Daily Moisturizing: Keep your feet well-hydrated by applying a thick moisturizer or foot cream daily. Look for products containing urea, glycerin, or shea butter, which are effective in retaining moisture.
  • Soak Your Feet: Soaking your feet in warm water for about 10-15 minutes can soften the skin and make it easier to exfoliate. You can add a bit of mild soap or Epsom salts to the water.
  • Choose the Right Footwear: Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for your heels. Avoid open-backed shoes that expose your heels to the air and cause them to dry out.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day to maintain overall skin health.

If your feet are chronically or severely dried out, then consider consulting a licensed podiatrist. Mountain Spring Podiatry is ready to take your call or message today.

Consult a licensed podiatrist

If you are looking for qualified foot specialists, then call the professionals at Mountain Spring Podiatry. Our team is on standby to take your call or message and schedule a convenient appointment today. We are also happy to arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible.