The skin you live in, is like a human shield, as it protects you from infections and dirt, but it can’t continue to be that protective shield if it is injured. One such ailment is ‘Cracked Skin’. It is painful, and can be deteriorating to your self-esteem.
Those common little splits in the skin around the heel are called cracked heels. Some simple tricks like moisturising can help in healing it. Read more, to learn more about what a cracked heel is and how to get rid of it.
Why do heels crack?
Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, are nothing but the splits in the skin of your heels. When we walk or stand, some pressure is put onto the heel from our body weight, and the skin normally spreads out and stretches a little. A combination of pressure and dryness leads to cracked heels, as the skin is unable to keep up enough moisture level and therefore becomes fragile. Cracked heels are a result of skin splitting around heels.
What are the symptoms for cracked heels?
In the initial phase of the condition, the heels start to feel tight when any sort of pressure is exerted. Initial symptoms of cracked heels can be itching, intense dryness, etc. The affected area turns brownish or yellowish in colour and tends to harden significantly.
In more advanced stages, the heels tend to become so dry that they turn white, yellowish, or even red in colour and begins to flake. There have been certain cases, where cracks deepen to the extreme extent that even a mere act of walking becomes incredibly difficult task. Cracked heels may also start bleeding and acquire infections, if left untreated.
What Causes Cracked Heels?
Primary cause of cracked heels is dehydrated skin. The heels start producing thick areas of hard skin, once the moisture is lost. As a result of that, the skin keeps restricting itself from healing sufficiently.
In initial phase, cracked skin may only feel like a minor skin issue, but if not taken seriously, it becomes painful. In more advanced stages cracked heels can feel itchy, painful and also begin to bleed from pressure of body weight
There are some of the potential causes of cracked heels. If you identify that any of the causes are affecting you in any way, you need to analyse your routine. You should also change your current habits. Here are some of the most common causes that can lead to cracked heels:
- Lack of Moisture - The most common reason of cracked heels. The skin underneath your feet is often dry, chapped and round and chapped. This is mainly because the skin around your heels have a low level of sweat glands. Body Fat holds and supports the skin, making it soft and preventing it from drying down. Cracked skin appears more quickly if the nature of your skin is particularly dry, due to less elasticity and can aggravate any of the following.
- Deficiencies - Lack of zinc, vitamins and minerals in your diet can affect your heel health.
- Pressure – Walking long distances or standing for long hours at work or home.
- Ageing skin – Skin around your heels start thickening and drying down with age. Cracks have a higher incidence, as the scaly skin loses its elasticity with age.
- Obesity – Your body weight potentially impacts the pressure on the fat pad under the heel. The higher the weight, more the pressure. This can lead to cracked heels as pressure will cause the fat to expand sideways and the skin lacks flexibility.
- Exposing footwear - It is important to take care of your feet regularly, especially while wearing exposing footwear. Open back footwear makes way for fat under the heel to expand sideways and this eventually increases the chances of cracks on your heels.
- Hygiene - Unhygienic conditions or circumstances can be a further cause. Be sure to wash and dry feet thoroughly.
- Water – Standing for long hours in damp areas, such as washrooms can cause cracked heels, because water is responsible of taking away the natural oils from the skin and can leave the skin dry and rough.
- Poorly-fitting shoes – Standing or walking for prolonged period of time wearing uncomfortable shoes, changes your walking posture and can be a cause of cracked heels.
- Genetics- Naturally dry or thick dry skin (callus) around the heel can be a genetic cause of cracked heels.
How to treat cracked heels
There are various remedies available to get rid of dry and cracked heels. You should try a moisturising treatment containing urea and lanolin. Using a file on regular intervals can also be beneficial in maintaining smooth and soft heels. In case the cracks are very deep or painful, you should definitely consult a healthcare professional.
What can I do to help prevent cracked heels?
As it is said ‘prevention is better than cure’, when it comes to cracked skin, it is important to take care of your feet on regular basis. You need to care for your feet the same way you’d care for the rest of your body. For example, you should stay hydrated to help moisturise your body.
- Always soften your hard skin quickly by soaking your feet in warm water.
- Protect and support your foot by wearing comfortable shoes and avoid footwear that are too loose or tight.
- Limit the use of open footwear in dry weather. Wearing closed in footwear will help your skin in retaining its moisture.
- Use Scholl:
1. Scholl Cracked Heel Repair Cream - Boosting your foot hygiene with moisturisers and cleansers can help keep skin supple. An effective way to prevent the formation of cracked skin is by using a Heel Repair Cream. Scholl Cracked Heel Repair Cream is clinically proven to repair and relieve rough, dry and cracked skin on the heels in 7 days.
2. Scholl Hard Skin Foot File - Scholl Hard Skin Foot File works by removing the dead skin on the sole of the feet, to reveal soft, smooth skin. It can eradicate dead skin by removing it layer-by-layer until smoother, softer skin is revealed.
If you find that your symptoms persist, even after treatment, then you may consult a dermatologist to determine if there might be any other potential causes or underlying health problems. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.
USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST SEE YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL.