Treat Cracked Heels with a Little TLC

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Dry, cracked heels can be a problem for anyone. Melinda Clark, a chemist in California, suffered such a bad case that her heels snagged her bed sheets and hosiery. She eventually concocted her own remedy and turned it into a very profitable business. If you suffer from painful heel fissures, you may also be looking for a cure that will make your dry skin smooth again. We can offer a few hints to get you started.

From the Inside Out

The skin on your heels dries out for many reasons: exposure to the air in open-heeled shoes, friction from your shoes, or extra weight that puts pressure on the skin. However, some of the causes can be internal, such as diabetes, or problems with nerve function. It can also result from something as simple as not getting enough fluids. All of these can contribute to the buildup of thick calluses on the bottom of your feet.

Dry skin is not supple or flexible, and cannot stretch with your movements. When too much pressure is placed on hard, stiff calluses, they can split. This exposes the tender tissue beneath and can be very painful. It can also open up your foot to infection. That is why treating your dry skin is crucial, especially for people with diabetes. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day to give your skin the moisture it needs.

Treating the Surface

To keep your cracked heels smooth, do the following:

  • Use an emery board or foot file to smooth dry, hard calluses on your big toe or heels once a week. Use gentle strokes toward the underside of your foot, and do it before bathing.
  • After your daily bath or shower, you can use a pumice stone to gently debride loose, dead skin. Follow with a good cream or natural emollient to lock in the moisture. Try tea tree, emu, or mineral oils, or shea butter or lanolin. However, don’t apply moisturizers between your toes, which could increase your risk of fungal infections.
  • Once in a while you may want to do a longer foot soak at bedtime, use the pumice stone, apply pure petroleum jelly, and cover with a pair of socks to keep the moisture in all night.

Other Helpful Habits

If you consistently follow these remedies, you should notice a marked difference in your skin. Then you can pay attention to other factors. For example, it may help to alternate open-back shoes with wearing socks and shoes, so your feet are not always exposed to the air. Make sure your shoes fit well, support your feet so the weight is distributed evenly, and don’t cause friction.

Losing weight may also help relieve excess pressure that can contribute to dry, callused feet. We can help you find a weight control program that aides in improving your health.

If you do develop cracked heels, give Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, ON, a call at (705) 444-9929. You can also schedule an appointment through our website. Chiropodist Tony Abbott can help find the treatment that works for you.