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Heel Fissures

Definition

Heel fissures, also known as cracked heels can be a simple cosmetic problem and a nuisance, but can also lead to serious medical problems. Heel fissures occur when the skin on the bottom, outer edge of the heel becomes hard, dry and flaky, sometimes causing deep fissures that can be painful or bleed.

Cause

Heel fissures can affect anyone, but risk factors include:

  • Living in a dry climate
  • Obesity
  • Consistently walking barefoot or wearing sandals or open-backed shoes
  • Inactive sweat glands

Like many foot conditions, heel fissures can become more dangerous if they go untreated and become deep or infected. This is especially dangerous for people with diabetes or compromised immune systems.

Treatment and Prevention

Moisturizing the feet regularly can prevent heel fissures. Once they occur, you can use a pumice stone daily to gently decrease the thick and flaky layer of skin. Avoid going barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes, sandals or shoes with thin soles. Shoes with strong shock absorption can help to improve the condition.

Moisturizing the feet at least twice a day and wearing socks over moisturizer while sleeping can also help.

If the problem persists, see your foot doctor.

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