Cracked heels, often referred to as heel fissures, are a common foot problem often caused by thickened, callused skin on the bottom of the heel. For most people, cracked heels are a nuisance; however, when the skin is cracked, it can become infected, painful to stand on, and the skin can bleed.
Cracks in the skin are usually obvious. Cracked heels are dry and have a thick callus which appears as yellow or dark brown discolored area of skin, especially along the inside border of the heel.
Risk factors include being overweight and diabetes, which results in an underactive thyroid lowering the body’s metabolic rate, reducing sweating, drying out skin, making the heels susceptible to cracking.
Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and athletes foot, as well as reduced thyroid activity common with diabetes, can dry out the skin and make it susceptible to cracking. Loose-fitting shoes may lead to calluses which can eventually result in cracked heels.
Treatment of cracked heels may involve the following:
- Identifying and addressing the initial cause (for example, treating athletes foot)
- Debriding (removing) the dried skin.
- Strapping may be used to 'hold' the cracks together while they heal.
- Some medications may be prescribed along with an appropriate moisturizer or emollient.
- Changes in footwear, possibly including insoles or a heel cup, may be recommended to prevent the thick skin from developing or spreading.
- Occasionally, a tissue 'glue' may be used to hold the edges of the skin together, so the cracks can heal.
- A maintenance program to prevent recurrence is important.
The Concierge Podiatry Advantage
Because cracked heels is a common medical issue, at Concierge Podiatry we have developed a unique treatment using specialized instruments to debride thickened skin and remove the heel cracks. We also offer a medical pedicure, a low cost service, to address cracked heels as well as corns, calluses, toenail trimming including ingrown and thickened toenails. A custom home care system is also available to prevent recurrence.
- Contact Concierge Podiatry for an appointment
- Learn more about treatment options often used to treat this issue