In an arid desert, you can often see cracks in the parched earth. The heat coupled with lack of rainfall leaves the ground dehydrated and the soil splits apart. The same type of phenomenon can occur with dry heels. At first, it may just be unsightly, but left untreated, the dryness can result in cracked heels, which in turn can evolve into serious medical issues if deep fissures form and become infected. Luckily, with Podiatry Associates, P.C., the forecast calls for pleasant days ahead!
Climate and Other Causes
Heel fissures can happen to anyone; however, there are some risk factors that can make you more prone to the problem. Living in a dry climate, for one, can rob skin of moisture. Because skin stretches less as you age, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop cracked heels. Diabetes interferes with your body’s ability to produce sweat glands, so having this disease can make you more susceptible to extreme dryness too. Other diseases can also contribute, and so can obesity, since excessive weight puts added pressure on your feet, stressing the skin on your heels.
In addition, spending a lot of time on your feet, going barefoot often, and wearing ill-fitting shoes can lead to heel fissures as well. Poor foot structure can result in calluses that may eventually break down your skin, as can vitamin deficiencies and a lot of time spent in water.
No Drought of Symptoms
There are plenty of indicators that heel fissures could be in your extended forecast. One of the first signs is dry heels, followed by the formation of thick, discolored calluses that can be painful with everyday activities, like walking. Left untreated, and with continued pressure placed upon the area, these calluses can break down, causing deep cracks that may even bleed. If these go uncared for, they can easily become infected and inflamed. This is especially dangerous if you have diabetes. Stop cracked heels before they worsen! Check your feet for symptoms, and if any are noticed, start treatment right away.
The Outlook Is Good
Moisture is key to treating this condition. Regularly lather your feet with a thick, creamy lotion to keep skin hydrated and supple. Wear shoes that fit properly and provide ample cushion and support. If you notice calluses, break out a pumice stone to smooth away the layers of dead skin before they cause heel fissures to form. Wearing socks provides a protective barrier to outside elements, and if worn overnight after using lotion, they lock in the moisture, helping to keep skin smooth. You may also want to look into wearing orthotic shoe inserts which can help evenly distribute pressure away from your heel.
Your Oasis Awaits
For more information on how to keep dry, cracked heels at bay, contact Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen and the team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. today. You can reach our Castle Pines and Parker, CO locations by dialing (303) 805-5156. We also serve the Denver, Centennial, and Aurora communities as well.
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