A common skin condition when the skin on your heel becomes dry, hard and begins to crack. If heel cracks remain untreated, they can progress into fissures (deep cracks in the callous), which split the skin at a deeper level (dermis) and then become very painful and may bleed.
Causes of Cracked Heels
- Walking barefooted or footwear such as thongs, sling or open backed sandals which dries the feet and also increases shearing forces on the skin. Or wearing shoes all week and then thongs/open heeled shoes on the weekend or your holidays. Your skin like a constant environment in terms of moisture and heat and changes of this cause cracks.
- Genetics -Skin type is often genetic. Some heels get thick very thick callus but don’t crack whereas others have no callous at all but crack badly.
- Long standing at work or home, especially on hard floors.
- Increased weight which causes increased pressure on the heels causing callus or deeper cracks.
- Inappropriate footwear that don’t support the heels from expanding sideways under pressure.
- Unhygienic circumstances or conditions as well as fungal infections (tinea)
- Climate change such as low humidity, or dry summers or cold winters.
- Deficiency in Vitamins, minerals, or zinc.
- Hormonal Conditions such as thyroid or estrogen imbalances.
- Circulation problems or diabetes
Our podiatrists are experts at painlessly debriding (removing) heel callous with or without cracks/fissures. This is part of our general foot care treatment should you ever come in for nail care or primary podiatry care. Our podiatrists will then recommend using certain creams or heel balms which will make your heels feel soft and smooth again. We sell many creams and home devices (handles with sandpaper material or pumous handles) that you can use to help maintain your heels and callouses in general.
In addition, our podiatrists may also be able to treat the underlying causes to your cracking as well as giving you the right advice on how to keep your heels in great condition.