Cracked Heels & Feet

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Dry, cracked skin on the feet and heels is a common problem for many women. Not only do cracked heels look bad in your new sexy, summer sandals, but that broken skin can become a health problem. In severe cases, the fissures in your heels and feet can start bleeding and may even become infected. For these reasons, it is important to care for the skin on your feet and heels just as carefully as you care for the rest of your body.


Symptoms

Symptoms present as dry, yellow or brown skin on the heel and foot, often visibly crisscrossed with crevices and fissures. The heel may be surrounded by a callous, which is a thick ridge of dead skin. If the condition is serious, you may feel pain when walking, especially if you are wearing shoes with an open heel. The skin may also itch and peel.

Causes

Dry, cracked skin on the heels and feet is often more serious in the summer, when the air is hot and dry and many women wear shoes that don’t protect the heels. Women who have naturally dry skin or other skin conditions, such as eczema, may be predisposed to develop cracking heels, according to ePodiatry. In addition, women who put a lot of weight on their heels (including women who are overweight or frequently wear high heels) may spread the skin, causing it to crack. Improperly fitting shoes can also lead to cracked heels and feet, as can underlying medical conditions.

Prevention

Take care of your feet. Wear shoes that cushion your heel and apply moisturizer to your feet each day. Try not to stand on your feet all day and make sure your shoes fit properly. Avoid wearing open-backed shoes, or at least don’t wear them every day.

Treatment

If your heels are very cracked, with thick, dead skin, first try to remove the skin with a pumice stone. Make a spa day of it — go get a pedicure and let the technicians work the dead skin off your heel. Or, purchase a kit and do it at home yourself. If the skin is bleeding, work some ointment into the skin and cover the heel with a thick sock. Severe bleeding and cracking should be seen by a podiatrist.

Warning

Dry, cracked skin on the heels and feet can be a minor symptom of another, more serious problem such as diabetes or autonomic neuropathy, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. If you have other symptoms of poor health, see a doctor as soon as possible.

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