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Improving Heel Fissures

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 21 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Skin Heels Cracked Dry Eczema Fissures

Heel fissures, which are also known as cracked heels, can be an unsightly problem. If left untreated however, this annoying cosmetic problem can impact on your health. Improving the look and texture of the skin on the bottom and outer edge of your heels therefore is important.

What Are Heel Fissures?

The skin on the outer edge, and bottom, of your heel can easily become dry, flaky and hard through consistently wearing sandals or open-backed shoes, or walking barefoot. Inactive sweat glands can also create a change in the skin of your feet, as too can being overweight. If you also happen to live in a dry climate you will need to take more care of your feet if you want to prevent heel fissures developing.

Heel fissures that become deep cracks can lead to infection, which is especially problematic for people suffering from compromised immune systems or diabetes.

Skin Types

Inadequate attention paid to our feet will undoubtedly result in problems. If you suffer from eczema or dry skin conditions you are at risk of developing a dry, thickened callus on the rim of your heels. As we age the condition of our skin also changes considerably, and unless we become more active in the way we look after our skin we will create more problems that require managing.

The protective fat layer of the sole of the foot will thin with age and the condition of the skin will also degenerate, as the skin in the heel and sole areas becomes thicker. The formation of calluses on your heels, however, can be easily reduced by maintaining good foot hygiene practice.

Treatment and Prevention

The best preventative measure is moisturisation. Ensuring your feet are adequately moisturised with a good quality medicated foot cream, at least twice a day, will keep the skin on the bottom of your heels supple and flexible. For added benefits you might also like to consider wearing a pair of socks over the moisturiser when you go to bed at night, as this treatment will allow the skin on your feet to absorb vital moisture.

Wearing shoes that provide good shock-absorption and support will also help reduce the risk of developing cracked heels. If heel fissures start to develop however, daily use of a pumice stone can help to improve the condition. To avoid further infection make sure you clean the pumice stone between applications. Never be tempted to use a razor blade or pair of scissors to cut away the thickened skin on your heels.

Because the heel fissures are open skin wounds it is important that you help prevent the risk of infection whenever possible. Using an antibiotic foot ointment will help heal the thickened, damaged skin. If the heel is red, swollen and/or painful however, it is recommended that you seek medical attention.

Heel Fissures in Children

The hardening of the skin on the heels of young children is known as atopic dermatitis, which is actually a form of eczema. Although this condition is often hereditary it can be noticeably improved by applying medicated foot cream or lotion frequently. Wrapping the child’s heel in protective film, after applying cream at night, and then putting on socks will also allow for better absorption of the moisturising cream.

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