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Cracked feet are not only painful but also not appealing to the eye. It can lead to self-conscious behavior and avoidance of wearing sandals or showing our bare feet. The main reason why our heels are prone to this kind of wear and tear is because when we walk or stand at any given time, all (or most) pressure is put on our heels. The feet being one of the most neglected parts of the body, it is no wonder so many people are walking around with heel fissures. In some cases, where the cracks are so deep, the heels bleed and can be very painful. This can lead to infection, thick dying skin, and even surgery to correct it.
This situation doesn’t get any better during the hot seasons when sandals are worn pretty much every day. Older women are more susceptible to this problem because they wear sandals often and without socks. They expose their heels and feet to the outside elements and fail to realize that they need to be cleaned and rehydrated at the end of the day.
Causes of Cracked Heels
- Standing for long periods of time while at home or at work (especially on hard floors). This could be minimized by wearing shoes whose heels and sole are well padded. This provides additional support.
- Being overweight (this increases the pressure exerted on your heels and if the skin is not supple enough, chances of 'cracking' are high)
- open back on the shoes (this allows the fat under the heel to expand sideways and increases the pressure to 'crack')
- Medical conditions such as diabetes which lower the body's metabolic rate therefore reduced sweating leading to skin dryness.
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
- Your body being deficient of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.
- Hot and dry climate.
- Wearing open back shoes regularly.
- Medication causing general skin dryness.
- Shoes that are poorly fitted and lack a heel support.
Degrees of Heel Fissures
Heel fissures or cracks are an awful thing and are often caused by repetitive pressure on your heels which could also be linked to continuous exposure to peep toe shoes and sandals. As a defense mechanism the human skin thickens itself in areas injured repetitively. If these cases are left untreated, the cracks on the heels get deeper. It also leads to advanced degrees of swelling, bleeding, redness and drainage of clear or yellowish fluids.
In most cases, these fissures can clear on their own but some serious cases may require an individual to seek medical help from a podiatrist (foot specialist).
Most people at this level will resolve to scrub the thick skin aggressively. This kind of self-treatment worsens the cracking. Untreated cracked heels, if exposed, also face the risk of inflammation and infections such as Cellulitis (deep tissue bacterial infection) or even sepsis (a blood infection) but it’s rare, though. None of these results are ideal, and you should do your best to avoid having to seek serious treatment.