Are you dealing with cracked heels? This condition is often quite painful, and it makes getting around harder than it needs to be. However, you don’t have to put up with it. There are lots you can do to help lessen cracked heels, and stop them from happening in the first place. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Cracked Heels?
As the name implies, cracked heels are when there’s a break in the skin, around the edges of the heel. This is where the skin can be dry or thickened. This condition causes pain for suffers, as the fissures can open up while walking and standing. As well as this, many find that cracked heels are unsightly.
There are several things that can cause cracked heels, that you should look out for. These include:
Standing for long periods: If you have to stand for long periods, such as in your day-to-day work, this puts pressure on the skin around your heels and can cause them to crack.
Wearing open-backed shoes: These shoes don’t offer support to your heel, so standing or walking in these for a long time will also lead to cracked heels.
Being overweight: As you’re holding more weight, you’re more likely to suffer cracked heels as you put more weight on them while walking.
Dry skin: If the skin around your heels is dry or thick to begin with, you can suffer from cracked heels as the skin doesn’t have the elasticity needed to deal with tension.
Pre-existing medical conditions: if you have diabetes, dermatitis, hypothyroidism or psoriasis, you’re more likely to develop cracked heels.
How To Treat Cracked Heels
If you’re dealing with cracked heels, it’s important to treat them as soon as possible. The sooner you treat your heels, the sooner you can walk again pain-free. You also need to treat them as those cracks are susceptible to infection, which will cause you more pain. There are lots you can do at home to help them heal up, so here’s what you need to do.
File your skin: With an emery board or pumice stone, file the skin around your heels. You may only be able to do this if it isn’t too painful to do so, though. If it is too sore, move onto the next step.
Soak your feet: To clear out bacteria, soak your feet in a warm water and salt mixture. Only do this for a maximum of 10 minutes. Once you’ve done this, dry your feet thoroughly. As counter-intuitive as it seems, the water can actually dry out the skin and make the problem worse.
Apply an emollient: Go to your local pharmacy and ask for an emollient that’s good for cracked heels. You want something that contains urea, salicylic acid or hydroxy acids. These are made to lock moisture into the skin, so your heels can soften and begin healing up.
Bandage your heels: If your heels are painful, bandage them up and let them stay covered for two days., Don’t let your heels become wet, and if the bandage does get wet you can change it out.
Don’t wear open-back shoes: While you’re treating your cracked heels, don’t wear open-back shoes. A shoe with an enclosed heel will protect the heel and allow it to heal up.
When To Talk To A Podiatrist
In many cases, a podiatrist would be happy to take a look at your cracked heels for you. If you’re thinking of talking to a podiatrist, try the above methods first. In many cases, this will be enough to allow those fissures to heal up. If they don’t though, then’s the time to make an appointment. You’ll also want to talk to them if you have one of the medical issues described above, as you shouldn’t try and treat them on your own.
A podiatrist will often use a scalpel to remove the hard skin around your heels and apply a bandage to help them heal up. This is a technique that requires experience, so you’ll want an expert to do it.