Cracked Feet and How to Treat Them

dehydrated-skin-on-heels

Cracked Feet: Here’s Why Your Feet Are So Dry

Just because your feet are tucked away in socks and shoes for most of the day doesn’t mean that they don’t need moisture, too. If you have noticed cracked heels developing, it’s a sign that the skin on your feet is in dire need of moisture. Left alone, cracked heels can cause pain, bleeding, and even infection.

Cracked heels occur when the skin is too dry to support all of the pressure on it. So when natural expansions of the foot occur during the day, the callused skin on the heel begins to split.

How to Prevent Cracked Feet

  • Purchase a good foot cream. Look for rich, heavy moisturizing creams and oils to apply to your cracked feet. Generally, greasier creams works better. Petroleum jelly is a great option if you are unsure where to start. Use the creams (or petroleum jelly) before going to bed, since they take some time to soak in
  • Choose your soap carefully. While cracked heels need to be kept clean and dry, harsher soaps will remove too much moisture from your feet. Look for milder soaps or those that note they have moisturizing properties.
  • Drink plenty of water. That dry, crackly feeling in your throat when you haven’t had water in a while is indicative of what your skin is feeling, too. Drinking more water will rehydrate your skin and help heal cracked heels.

Believe it or not, the moisture your feet get also depends heavily on how you bathe.

  • Moisturize after every shower. Make a point of moisturizing right after a bath or shower to seal moisture in.
  • Skip a shower. Bathing more than once a day can actually be harmful for your body. Water from outside the body washes away the oils from your skin and sucks moisture out. The more time you spend bathing, the less moisture your feet retain.
  • Set the water to lukewarm. While most people prefer a steamy shower, the hot water will actually dry out your skin. Set the water to room temperature instead.
  • Try an oatmeal bath. Bathing with oatmeal-based cleansers are actually a lot less drying than other cleansers, and help prevent cracked feet.
  • Don’t scrub your feet. Heavily scrubbing your feet with a towel only dries the skin out even more. Instead, gently pat your skin.

While most cases of cracked heels aren’t serious, soreness, redness, and swelling around the cracked area could be signs of infection and require examination from a podiatrist. If you are worried about infection or simply want to learn more about taking care of your feet, contact Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center.