Treat Heel Fissures Tenderly
If you have the habit of wearing sandals or open heel slings, you may have noticed a ring of unsightly, dry skin around the bottom edge of your heels. This often happens in the summer, when the Chicago area warms up and the heat dries out your skin. Other than being embarrassed by its appearance, you may not notice any bad effects at first, but if you don’t take care of it properly you could end up with heel fissures, small cracks in the skin that can split farther and become very painful. You may experience discomfort when walking, and running may be out of the question until you get your feet in better condition again.
What Causes Cracks in Your Heels
There are other factors besides shoe choice that can make you prone to this heel condition. Obesity is one. Extra weight puts more pressure on your feet and can make the skin more vulnerable to cracking. If the sweat glands on your soles are inactive, moisture is not being replaced, or you live in a dry climate that sucks moisture from your skin, you may notice dry, flaky skin on your heels. If not treated, cracks may become so deep that they bleed or become infected.
Heel Fissures Treatment
The first thing to do for heel fissures is to make sure you are drinking enough water. Proper hydration is important to help your skin stay supple and soft. In those cold Chicago winters, when the dry heat from heating systems is sapping your skin, you can run a humidifier to increase the level of moisture in the air.
Help prevent cracks in your heels by moisturizing daily – once in the morning and again at night. If you already have fissures in your heels, use a pumice stone after your shower to gently remove the dead, dry skin and prevent them from getting worse. Follow up with a good lotion or cream. One caveat: don’t put too much moisturizer on just before you exercise, as it could make your feet too slippery and might lead to an injury. Before bed, slather on the moisturizer again, and then cover with a pair of socks so that it can work through the night.
As tempting as it may be, avoid going barefoot or wearing only sandals or open heel shoes all of the time during the summer. Alternating sandals with a good pair of shoes and socks can not only prevent your heels from drying out, it can also help avoid other problems that can result from wearing flat shoes with no support or cushioning. If you are developing dry heels or small cracks, it may be a good idea to avoid running or other stresses on the foot until they begin to heal.
If the cracks in your heels become deep or begin to bleed, you need to call Dr. Stavros Alexopoulos at My Chicago Foot Expert right away. This is especially important if you are diabetic, as the cracks can lead to infection. Phone (773) 561-8100 today, or use the “book online” button on our homepage.