Now that summer is here, you’ve probably been wearing sandals or flip-flops. Have you noticed your sandals rubbing against the bottom outer edge of your heels, causing calluses to form? Over time, if you don’t treat these calluses, the skin can become thick, hard, dry and flaky. Eventually, a crack or cracks may develop on your heels. These fissures can form around your entire heel or on one side of your heel.
Heel fissures are a common foot problem. They can be a nuisance since they’re unsightly. Sometimes, the cracks can deepen causing pain and bleeding. In severe cases, the fissures can become infected.
What causes heel fissures?
While heel fissures can affect anyone, there are some things that can contribute to the development of heel cracks such as:
- Dry, arid climates.
- Low humidity in the winter.
- Walking barefoot.
- Wearing sandals or open-backed shoes which cause excessive pressure or friction on the heels.
- Prolonged standing which causes added pressure on your feet.
- Decreased sweat gland activity.
- Evaporation of sweat or oils from the epidermis or outer skin layer.
- Obesity which puts extra pressure on your feet.
If you have medical condition, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, Down syndrome, kidney disease or lymphoma, you’re more susceptible to dry skin which may lead to cracks.
What’s the treatment for heel fissures?
To treat mild cracks, you can gently use a pumice stone daily to reduce the thickness of calluses and moisturize the feet at least twice a day. All natural shea butter is a good moisturizing lotion to use, especially if you have sensitive skin. You may want to apply the moisturizer to your feet at night and wear socks while you sleep, so the lotion can penetrate into your skin.
However, if the heel fissures deepen, causing pain and bleeding, you should see your doctor for evaluation and treatment. Your doctor may:
- Surgically remove the dead skin. (Never use a razor to cut away a callus at home. You may cause serious damage to your skin or an infection may occur.)
- Prescribe a cream with urea concentrate or lactic acid to help wear down the callus.
- Suggest you wear shoes with strong shock absorption to reduce the impact on your heels.
- Recommend the use of a plastic heel cup to displace the pressure on the heel.
- Advise the use of a custom foot orthotic, like the ezWalker® Performance Insole. Custom foot orthotics help to evenly redistribute your body’s weight across your entire foot surface and reduce the pressure it exerts on your heels. Also, the ezWalker® insole’s biomechanical design enhances your foot’s position by supporting your hind foot in a way that realigns the forefoot for the propulsion phase of the gait cycle. This redistributes pressure as you walk and helps prevent calluses from forming.
When heel cracks are left untreated, they may become infected, leading to cellulitis. Infections can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes, poor circulation or compromised immune systems. When this occurs, your doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic ointment, or for more serious cases, an oral antibiotic.
How do I prevent heel fissures?
You can keep heel fissures from forming by reducing some of the causes of heel cracks like losing weight or reducing your sandal wearing time. Also, by using a pumice stone and moisturizer daily, you can keep your feet looking healthy this summer.
By adding ezWalker® Performance Insoles to your shoes, you can reduce pressure on your feet and help relieve foot pain. These insoles are custom molded to the exact specifications of each of your feet, so you get just the right support you need. They’re ultra thin and ¾ in length, so they fit in a wide variety of shoes. And, with the help of Velcro® fasteners, they can even be worn in sandals and flip-flops. So, order your ezWalker® insoles today.
Because … when you feet feel good, you feel good.