Cracked heels treatment
What are cracked heels?
Cracked heels are a condition which develops when the area of skin around the heel becomes excessively dry and begins to crack or when the area is too soft and wet making it more susceptible to splitting.
When the condition of the skin around the heel is abnormally dry or wet and the area is put under pressure from the weight of the body, the skin cannot stretch and spread to accommodate the increased pressure as it normally would and so it begins to split.
Cracked heels can be an issue for patients as they are often painful and unsightly, however split heels can be a more serious issue as they can sometimes provide a portal of entry to bacteria leading to infection.
What are the causes of cracked heels?
The following are some of the more common causes of cracked heels;
- Standing for long periods
- Wearing inappropriate footwear such as open back shoes
- Being overweight
- Autonomic neuropathy
- Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, eczema or psoriasis
How are cracked heels treated by a podiatrist?
Treatment will depend upon the individual patient and will be subject to a thorough assessment. Treatment may involve the following;
- Debriding (removing) the hard skin around the heels with a scalpel
- Reducing the hard skin using a foot file
- A combination of sharp debridement and filing
- Emollient therapy (moisturisation)
- Foot care and footwear advice and education
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