Have you ever suffered from dry, hard, thickened skin around the rim of your heel? Basically, you’ve got a large callus on the back bottom of your foot. This kind of callus can range from mildly annoying to downright dangerous. Let’s explore the difference.
Just a nuisance
Along with the hard callus on your heel, you may notice tiny splits in the skin. These slight cracks aren’t appealing to the eye. They’re coarse and rough and sometimes discolored, and may discourage you from wearing sandals. They’re not terribly appealing in terms of your overall comfort, either: they can catch on your socks or make walking slightly uncomfortable.
But this minor wear-and-tear on your heel is fairly easy to combat with a pumice stone and some thick moisturizer. Make this a weekly ritual and you’ll probably not be bothered too much by cracked heels.
Entering the danger zone
When heels become cracked with deep fissures, exposing layers of skin that should never see the sun - or if they bleed or make walking painful - you need to take action. Heels that are badly and deeply cracked provide entryways for bacteria-causing infections. This type of severely dry, cracked heel that interferes with your daily activity should prompt you to make an appointment with one of the expert podiatrists at Monmouth County’s Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center - Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Joseph Saka, or Dr. Katy Statler.
Heels become cracked for number of reasons, including friction from shoes, thin-soled shoes, or skin conditions such as psoriasis. Other causes include
Getting older - sweat glands become less effective and your skin gets drier with age
Obesity - excess weight can damage your heels’ protective fat padding
Hard flooring - too much time on your feet on a hard floor also wears down the fat pads
In rare cases, cracked heels may be a sign of more serious health problem such as hypothyroidism or keratoderma ( a thickening of the skin that can also affect your palms, hair, nails)
You can prevent cracked heels by examining your feet daily and promptly treating any dryness and small cracks before they become dangerous. Diabetics need to be especially vigilant about wearing protective and supportive footwear, and calling our office in Howell, New Jersey at (732) 905-1110 at the first sign of heel cracks.