Common Causes Of Dry, Cracked Heels



It’s that time of the year, when everyone is sporting his or her new favorite sandals or flip-flops. It’s also the time that people start noticing how dry and cracked their heels are! Even though, we live in Southern California and can wear minimal footwear almost year round, for some reason, summer is when people want their feet to look and feel good!


Dry, cracked heels are a common affliction happening more often on women and the elderly. It’s usually just a cosmetic or nuisance for the majority of people, but if cracks start to appear, then it can be painful to even stand.


The most common cause of dry, cracked heels is insufficient moisture. Over time, the dryness can cause cracks, or heel fissures.  These cracks can get deep and cause bleeding. In severe cases, there can be a risk of infection through the open cracks / fissures. Dry heels can be caused by a number of reasons:


Dehydration, Not Drinking Enough Water


Not Moisturizing Your Feet


Taking Hot, Long Showers


Soaking In A Hot Bath For Long or Frequently


Using Harsh, Drying Soaps


Scrubbing Dry Feet




Psoriasis and Eczema


Underactive Thyroid


Obesity and Poor Nutrition


Besides appearance, the most common symptom to watch out for is red patches of skin that get thick, hard and can be flaky. It’s important to start treatment right away because it is often the first sign that heel fissures are beginning to develop. Try to resist the impulse to pull the peeling skin off, no matter how tempted because it can affect other parts of your foot.


If your dry, cracked heels are not getting better with an over-the-counter foot lotion, you need to see a podiatrist to treat the problem. A podiatrist can treat any potential associated infection and also offer medical grade solutions to help your skin heal properly. A product that we recommend in our office is Kera-42 Cream. It has a combination of medical grade keratolytic and moisturizer. According to Dr Jeffrey Sh Hurless, DPM, “Heels are so thick and calloused; sometimes it’s necessary to remove the hard, thick, dry skin in order to treat the fissures”.


To avoid getting dry, cracked heels, you need to eliminate the risk factors by staying hydrated and avoiding long hot tub or bath soaks, as well as hot showers. Take care of those feet with a good lotion and you’ll soon find yourself “healed”.

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