Do You Have Dry, Cracked Heels?

What Are Heel Fissures?

Dry skin is a very common occurrence when it comes to feet. Going barefoot, wearing open-backed shoes, being overweight or friction from the back of shoes can cause the skin on your heels to become very dry. When your skin becomes dry, hard and flaky it can crack and small fissures develop. Heel fissures can be tiny or deep and painful. The symptoms of heel fissures are typically worse when you have thick callus around the edge of your heel.

A fissure is a split in the skin, which is literally an opening in your skin. For this reason, they can become infected and bleed if not cared for properly.


What Causes Heel Fissures?

Dry, callused heels that result in heel fissures can happen to anyone. Dr. Danciger, foot specialist in Palm Desert, CA has treated patients of all ages with this foot problem. There are a few factors that can contribute to the development of heel fissures. These factors include the following:

  • Living in a dry climate
  • Being obese
  • Walking barefoot on a regular basis
  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Regularly wearing sandals or open-backed shoes
  • Dehydrated skin or inactive sweat glands
  • Prolonged standing on hard floors
  • Skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis
  • Diabetes
  • High arched or flat feet
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Lack of foot maintenance


What Symptoms Should I Look For?

Knowing the symptoms of heel fissures will help you identify the problem and take action quickly. Since the cracks in the skin are prone to infection, early treatment will help avoid serious complications. This is especially if you have a secondary condition such as diabetes. Here are common symptoms to look for:

  • Thick, callused skin on the edges of your heels
  • Discoloration on your heels – usually yellow or dark brown colored skin
  • Pain when walking in an open-backed or thin-soled shoe
  • Peeling or cracked skin
  • Itchy feet
  • Red patches of skin
  • Bleeding

How Can I Treat My Heel Fissures?

Fortunately, a heel fissure problem can be easily treated and future occurrences prevented with some simple treatment methods and lifestyle changes:

  • Removal of the hard, thick skin to promote healing – This can be done by gently exfoliating with a pumice stone
  • Avoid going barefoot or wearing shoes that cause skin to dry out and crack
  • Drink adequate water daily
  • Wear shoes with good shock absorption
  • Use a lotion or cream designed for deep moisturizing and use on feet at least twice a day.
  • Wear socks over the moisturizer while you sleep
  • Be cautious while exercising if you have serious fissures. Extra pressure or pounding on the feet can cause the fissures to become even deeper.

A small fissure can quickly become a dangerous problem if you have diabetes or an underlying condition that affects circulation. If an open sore is noticed or a fissure is not healing, please seek treatment with Dr. Danciger immediately. For help with dry skin, calluses or heel fissures, please contact our office today and make an appointment. Call (760) 568-0108 or request one directly from our homepage.

If you are interested in learning some valuable ways to care for your feet, we would love to send you one of our free resources. Simply click here to choose a free book written by Dr. Danciger or an audio cd.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle