Cracked heels are a common problem for many people. Dry, thickened skin known as callouses can form around the rim of your heel. As you walk, the fat pad under your heel expands. This causes your callouses to crack. Factors that can cause cracked heels include standing for long hours, walking barefoot or wearing open-back shoes, excess weight, taking long, hot showers, using harsh soaps, wearing shoes that don’t support your heels, dry skin due to climate, or increased friction from the back of shoes.
Severely dry and cracked skin can also be a subtle sign of more significant problems such as diabetes or neuropathy. There is hope! Staying hydrated and drinking water can help with your overall health as well as dry, cracked skin. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons shares the following at home treatments that can also help with cracked heels.
- Moisturize feet twice a day to the heels. Look for moisturizers with ingredients including alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), salicylic acids, or urea (10-25 percent). As the callused area thins, you may switch to creams with ceramides, petroleum, or natural oils to keep the skin soft.
- Soak feet in warm (not hot) water for 10 minutes a day.
- Use manual exfoliation (scrub brush or pumice stone) with light pressure to remove excess dead skin.
If home treatments aren’t working, contact Dr. Kylin Kovac or Dr. Jed Erickson at Idaho Foot & Ankle Center for an evaluation. They provide exceptional foot care for the whole family and can find a treatment plan that is best for you!
Some content provided by The ACFAS.