Posts for tag: Callus

By Fawaz Nesheiwat
January 28, 2014
Category: Injury Prevention

I Think I’m Cracking Up!

 

 

Cracked heels are a common foot problem that is often referred to as heel fissures. Cracked heels are commonly caused by dry very skin and made more complicated if the skin around the rim of the heel is thick (callus). For most people this is a nuisance and a cosmetic problem but when the fissures or cracks are deep, they are painful to stand on and the skin can bleed and in severe cases this can become infected. If you are diabetic, this can lead to devastating issues!

 

Some people tend to have a naturally dry skin that predisposes them to the cracks. The thickened dry skin (callus) around the heel that is more likely to crack is often due to mechanical factors that increase pressures in that area (for example, the way that you walk).

Other factors that can be involved in the cause of cracked heels include:

  • Prolonged standing, especially on hard floors
  • Open back on the shoes (this allows the normal fat pad under the heel to expand sideways and increases the pressure leading to the cracking)
  • Some medical conditions predispose to a drying skin (for example, diabetic neuropathy where diabetes leads to less sweating or an underactive thyroid lowers the body's metabolic rate and there is a reduction in sweating, leading to a dryness of the skin)
  • Skin conditions  such as psoriasis, fungus and eczema)

 

At Foot Care Associates,  treatment of cracked heels may involve the following:

  • Investigating the cause of the problem and addressing it.
  • Removing the hard thick skin. Regular maintenance may be the best way to prevent the problem.
  • If very painful, strapping may be used to 'hold' the cracks together while they heal (a maintenance program after this to prevent recurrence is very important).
  • Prescription and advice regarding the most appropriate moisturizer or emollient. Emollients with Urea are often very effective but if a skin condition such as fungus is present, that might also need to be addressed.  
  • Advice about footwear and self care of the problem.
  • A heel cup may be used to keep the fat pad from expanding sideways. This is worn in the shoe and can be very effective in prevention if used regularly.
  • A heel “sleeve” to sleep in that is embedded with moisturizers is often employed.

If you suffer from this sometimes disabling and cosmetic problem, contact our physicians at Foot Care Associates in Hackettstown, NJ to help.  

By Fawaz Nesheiwat

 



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