Having dry, unsightly, cracked heels is a problem many of us will face at some point. Left untreated, cracks can become deep, painful and can even bleed, leading to major discomfort and the possibility of infection if left untreated.
A national study in America commissioned by the Institute of Preventative Foot Health reported that 30% of the population over 21 years old reported cracked skin or heel pain. However, purchases of home treatments were on the decline. So does this mean more people are turning to professional help rather than trying home remedies?
Buying products to treat your cracked skin can be a costly exercise, especially if they don’t work effectively. Here’s our guide to resolving your cracked heel problems once and for all.
What Causes Cracked Heels?
First things first: prevention. The ideal scenario is to avoid developing cracked heels. Understanding what causes them will help you to make the right decisions for your foot health. There is a range of common causes of cracked heels, including:
- Wearing open footwear such as sandals and flip-flops that provide little support
- Lack of moisture due to the small number of sweat glands on the heels, which on other parts of the body can help naturally moisturise the skin
- Pressure from standing or walking on hard surfaces for long periods
- Obesity increases the pressure on the bottom of your feet
- Ill-fitting footwear can rub and harden skin
- Old age and the associated reduction in elasticity of the skin.
Preventing Cracked Heels
As they say, prevention is the best cure, so following simple foot-care tips can help. Wearing supportive enclosed footwear, keeping feet clean and moisturised, and staying hydrated can all help to prevent heels from cracking.
What Home Treatments Are There?
For mild cases of cracked heels where the issue is more aesthetic than physical pain, home treatments might be sufficient to solve the problem. Remedies include:
- Exfoliators: Pumice stone or mechanical exfoliators can be used to rub away the hard skin collected around the heel.
- Moisturisers: Creams, lotions, gels and sock products will return moisture to your dry skin. Look for ones that contain Urea – the higher the content, the better.
What Should You Do if You Suffer From Cracked Heels?
If your cracked heels are painful and bleed upon movement, you should seek medical advice before using any home remedies. Exfoliators and moisturisers will often solve minor cases, but they won’t prevent cracks reappearing after stopping use. Miracle creams claiming to rid cracked heels in days will often only work for as long as you use them, then the cycle will start again.
So, what if there is an underlying cause of your problem that a cream or gel won’t solve? Then it might be time to visit your local Feet By Pody clinic.
How We Can Help
At Feet By Pody, we can help treat unsightly cracked skin on your heels, but we also get to the bottom of why your heels got so painful to begin with.
Our podiatry services include biomechanical assessment, which can identify Plantar Fasciitis and determine why your feet suffer abnormal or excessive pressure leading to cracked heels. You may need special orthotic inserts to help make footwear more comfortable and support your heels to prevent cracking. We will set you on the right track to resolve the problem completely, rather than temporarily masking the issue.
If you are suffering from sore, dry, cracked heels, contact our friendly team today to see how we can help to take away your pain and discomfort.