Cracked Heels

Cracked heels are very common and are experienced by many people. During the first stages the problem is only that the cracked heels look unattractive, but when the cracks become deep it can be painful when pressure is placed on the heel.

What are the symptoms of cracked heels? | How to relieve cracked heels?
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Page updated 06/04/18 12:47:36 p.m.

What are the symptoms of cracked heels?

Cracked heels are often characterised by the hard, thickened, dry skin which can be yellow or dark brown that develops around the heel. They are called calluses. If they are left untreated, they can be painful, become deeper and begin to bleed.

How to relieve cracked heels?

The best form of treatment for cracked heels is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This can be achieved by simply rubbing the heels with a moisturising cream on a regular basis to keep the skin supple and hydrated. Special heel balms are available that contain descaling (keratolytic) or water-retaining (humectant) agents, such as:
  • Urea
  • Salicylic acid
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids
  • Saccharide isomerate
Feet should be inspected daily and on the first sign of any cracking, a moisturising routine 2-3 times a day may be all that is needed to heal the heel. A pumice stone can be rubbed gently against the callus to take away some of the thick hard skin before applying moisturiser.

The fissures may be treated with a liquid, gel or spray bandage to reduce pain, protect and allow more rapid healing.

For severely cracked heels or if no improvement is seen after a week of self-treatment a visit to a podiatrist may be required. Treatments may involve the following.

Debridement - cutting away hard thick skin (this should not be attempted at home using scissors or a razor blade as there is a risk of removing too much skin and an infection occurring)
Strapping - bandage/dressings around the heel to reduce skin movement
Prescription - for stronger softening or debriding agents, e.g. urea or salicylic acid creams
Insoles - heel pad or heel cups to redistribute the weight of the heel and provide better support (prevent the fat pad from expanding sideways)
Special tissue glue - to hold the edges of the cracked skin together so it can heal.
Page updated 06/04/18 12:47:36 p.m.
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