It's no secret that cracked heels are unsightly. They might make you feel insecure about the way your feet look in sandals, at the swimming pool, or even in bed with your partner. But cracked heels don't only feel dry and look terrible, they are also potential health hazards.
When left untreated, the cracks in heels can become so deep that they start to bleed. This is bad news for a couple of reasons. There will be pain when you apply pressure to your feet, which could render you immobile, and the open sores can also leave you exposed to bacterial infection. What's more, if you suffer from diabetes, you may experience nerve damage in the feet and you might not even realise when your cracked feet are causing you pain.
What causes cracked heels?
It's useful to know the causes behind cracked heels, otherwise known as heel fissures, because knowing the causes will enable you to eliminate some things that might be worsening the condition. Some of the most common causes for dry and cracked heels are dry weather, not wearing shoes or wearing sandals, using harsh soaps that dry out feet, not moisturising the feet, taking very hot baths or showers, and soaking in a hot bath for too long.
Get checked out by your podiatrist
It might seem dramatic, but it's actually well worth seeing a podiatrist if you have persistently cracked feet that you can't get to soften. Your podiatrist will be able to debride the hard skin in a way that is gentle yet effective so that soft skin on the heel is promoted over repeated appointments. If you currently have heel pain because of the fissures, your podiatrist may also be able to help with strapping that holds the cracks together while the skin heals.
What can be done at home?
There are also a number of ways that you can promote soft and supple skin on your heels at home. After a shower, when your skin is soft, use a pumice stone to gently work at the skin each day, and over time you will notice a difference. Make sure that you moisturise your feet with something gentle after you exit the shower so your heels don't dry out—coconut oil is a good choice. And before you go to bed, put on a pair of warm, fuzzy socks so that your feet don't dry and moisture is locked in.
For further information or to set up an appointment with a podiatrist, contact a representative from an establishment like Quinns Podiatry.