Quick—what's the body's largest organ? It’s your epidermis, otherwise known as skin, and it plays a very important role. Skin is your body's first line of defense against the elements, it stabilizes the body's temperature, and allows us to have a sense of touch.
We often take the health of our skin for granted, especially on our feet! If you have developed heel fissures, you understand firsthand the importance of proper foot and skin care.
What Are Heel Fissures?
Also known as cracked heels, fissures appear when the skin on the bottom of the foot has become dried, flaky, and tough. As a result, the skin begins to separate and crack. In severe cases, deep fissures may bleed and become very painful.
Causes of Cracked Heels
Perhaps you live in a dry climate and prefer walking barefoot. Maybe you stand on hard surfaces for long periods of time, or have pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Whatever the case, anyone can suffer from cracked heels. Other factors that play a role in dry skin include: having inactive sweat glands, having naturally dry skin, wearing open-backed shoes or sandals, obesity, and diabetes.
How Can I Treat My Feet?
Put an end to dry skin. If you're suffering from cracked heels or you're looking to prevent them, there are plenty of things you can do at home! Are you drinking enough water? One of the first things your skin needs is proper hydration. Drink water and add moisture to your layers. Do you own a humidifier? Plug it in! Your skin will naturally absorb the moisture from the air. Perhaps you're looking for an overnight treatment. Try rubbing an intensive moisturizing lotion, petroleum jelly, or Shea butter on your feet directly before falling asleep, then put on a pair of socks to lock in the moisture.
Ridding your heels of dry skin and calluses can also help prevent cracks and breaks. While bathing, gently remove any dead skin with a pumice stone. Keep in mind, however, that if you already have heel fissures, the pumice stone may do more harm than good. Be careful not to irritate the skin.
Footwear and activity level play large roles in protecting your feet. Wear shoes that have an adequate amount of padding and cushion and steer clear of wearing open-backed shoes and sandals. These types of shoes place an excessive amount of weight and shock on the back of your heels. As you walk, the pressure must equalize, causing the skin to stretch outward, and that puts you at a higher risk for breaks in the skin. Believe it or not, weight loss can help prevent cracked heels. The amount of pressure placed on your heels while running, walking, and even standing, greatly increases with each pound.
If you have deep heel fissures that can't be soothed by home remedies, contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot and Ankle Clinic here in Pleasanton, TX, today. To promote healing in deep fissures, we can apply a strap that pushes the broken skin back together, amongst other treatments. Use our website contact form or call us at (830) 569-3338 to request more information.