By Dr. Nitin Jain, Dermatology
The soles of your feet are quite sensitive and the skin often tends to dry and split open, which can be quite painful. These fissures or cracks not only cause pain when walking but can also get infected.
What are the causes for cracked heels?
Cracked heels are a result of lack of moisture. These cracks tend to become very sore and sometimes even bleed. They occur due to-
• Cold weather, especially during the winter months
• If you take hot baths
• Use of harsh and dry soaps for the feet
• Not moisturizing the feet regularly
• Scrubbing the feet excessively
Two conditions that often lead to cracked feet are diabetes and obesity. Diabetes often leads to nerve damage in the feet, thus affecting effective blood flow and resulting in dry skin, which can cause fissures. Diabetic people are more likely to develop an infection because of cracked heels than those without diabetes.
Obesity can result in cracked heels, because of the excessive weight that is put on the heel of the foot. Because of the pressure the skin tends to expand and if it dries, it easily cracks.
But one of the most common reasons for cracked heels is the winter months, during which anybody can develop fissures, because of the dry weather.
What are the symptoms of cracked heels?
When heels of your feet begin to crack, you will first experience a discolored callus tissue formation, which can be painful as you put pressure on the heel. If it remains untreated it can develop into deep cracks, which may even start bleeding. This can further develop into an infection and the skin may also swell up.
Thus, it is essential that you are alert, especially during the winter months and take the required precaution to prevent cracked heels. It is generally recommended that you drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and moisturize your feet regularly.