As summer continues, the sandals keep coming out and so do the dry cracked heels. This is one of the commonest and most easily diagnosed of the wide range of foot conditions. You have no doubt realised that they occur because of weathering, where the sun and wind dries out the skin exposed in open-backed footwear. However did you know that they can be dangerous for your health?
The skin is made up of several layers, with the epidermis accounting for the outermost layers. Skin cells mature and harden here over a month-long process before they normally shed into dust. On high pressure areas, this shedding process doesn’t take place properly, with the skin cells becoming impacted and hardened. This makes them inflexible and more prone to cracking especially if the forces on them act in different directions like they do on the heels when walking. This leads to the formation of epidermal heel fissures which can be unsightly but aren’t particularly troublesome unless they progress.
Epidermal heel fissures can be usually be kept on top of without professional help. All they need is daily or twice-daily application of high strength urea-based moisturising cream, and regular use of a foot file. These items are available to buy via this link: www.firstaidforfeet.co.uk/Bargain-Packs/cracked-heels-pack
However in some cases self-care is not sufficient even with the best products, particularly if the heels haven’t been looked after properly for some time. Indeed the cracks can pull further apart until they reach the next level down which is known as the dermis. This is where the blood vessels and nerves are, so dermal heel fissures can be painful and can bleed. Bacteria can invade the deeper tissues from here, which can result in localised or spreading infection and cellulitis, especially if there are underlying health problems such as diabetes. Once the cracks reach this depth, then professional help is normally required to avoid complications that could be dangerous to general health, and to get the cracks resolved fully.
Techniques that good Podiatrists use for dermal heel fissures include thorough removal of all overlying hard skin / callus (with blades and drills, although these sound more painful than they actually are), medical-grade glues, special dressings and heel sleeves. The key to success is to follow an intensive treatment plan to ensure resolution is achieved as even the worse cracked heels are curable with the right care. As an example, a lady hobbled into my clinic about 3 years ago with a crack in her heel approximately 4cm long and 1cm deep into her flesh. She had suffered for years despite professional help elsewhere. Within 10 days we had managed to resolve this crack for her and she was able to walk comfortably again. For more information on that case, please visit www.healthfirstsoutham.co.uk/foot-problems/the-cost-of-cracked-heels/
So if you need help with your cracked heels, or any other foot-related problem, get in touch on 01926 811272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or book online here as WE FIX THE FEET THAT OTHERS CAN’T FIX. Don’t just take our word for it – here is one of the many great reviews we receive:
“Thank you for your wonderful service…I have been in pain for a long time, unable to walk at times, not able to wear certain shoes and this has affected my whole life…within an hour of my appointment I began to feel the relief and effects of your treatment…14 days later I feel as though I have a new pair of feet! Thank you, amazing feeling!” S.M. from Banbury