Cracked and dry heels can be painful, (especially if they crack open and bleed) can be unsightly, and can ruin a pair of nylons very quickly. If this sounds familiar to you and you've tried all the usual treatments to no avail, then this blog entry may be of some help to you. Understanding what causes dry heels is important so as to eliminate those contributing factors.
Several factors contribute to the development of dry and cracked heels and eliminating any or all of these can help in the prevention and treatment.
- Flip-Flops - Yes, the footwear of choice during the summer months can be the culprit. They offer no support to the heel and as the skin around the heel expands with weight bearing, it will often crack. The synthetic material that flip-flops are made of can contribute to excessive perspiration of the foot. Advice - stay away from the flip-flops. A good fitness shoe is best and will help to prevent the cracked heels. If you absolutely must wear a sandal, purchase a good pair of supportive sandals - there are many good brands such as Birkenstock, Teva, Chaco and SAS. This still is not as good as an enclosed back shoe, but is a step in the right direction.
- Clogs and backless shoes - as with the flip-flops, they give no support to the heel and can contribute to cracking around the backs of the heels.
- Weight - As with most medical conditions, weight is a factor here as well. The more weight placed on the heels, the more the skin can spread and begin to crack. It is just good common sense that the closer you are to your ideal weight, the healthier you will be, including your heels.
- Moisturize at night - it is very important to use a good moisturizing cream or lotion on your heels at bedtime. There are many specialized products for dry cracking heels that work well, but you must use them every night. If you need advice on which product to use, you can use my online appointment form to contact me or call my office at 440-934-8444 to set-up an appointment. There are also prescription strength creams that are very potent and efficient.
- Occlusion - this is a great technique to really drive the moisturizing cream or lotion into the cracks and get them to heal quickly. This is done just before going to bed. First, apply the moisturizing product to your heels. Next cover the heel with a small amount of plastic wrap (Saran-wrap or similar). Finally, cover with a sock. Repeat this nightly for about 7-10 days and you should see a significant difference.
- Visit your Podiatrist if your condition does not improve or if you require treatment with a prescription moisturizing cream.
Roger Friedman, DPM
5321 Meadow Lane Court
Sheffield Village, OH 44035