Dry Cracked Heels – Heel Fissures

What is a dry cracked heel?

A painful dry cracked heel is called a fissure. A fissure occurs when the callus becomes thick, dry and then a crack in the skin forms. The fissures can be painful since it is an open wound and lots of pressure is placed on the heel when walking. Fissures typically heal, but can be complicated by a skin infection 

What causes dry cracked heels?

Developing a thick skin around the heel or a callus is the first steps towards developing a fissure. Calluses form around the heels from having excess weight/obsesity, prolong standing on hard surfaces, and open back shoes and sandals that provide no support to the heel. Once a callus forms it can become cracked if you have dry skin. Some of the the most common causes of dry skin are from having eczema, athlete’s feet, hypothyroidism, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Winter is a common season to develop dry cracked heels due to the dry environment and taking hot showers. 

How to treat a dry crack heel or fissure?

The best way to treat a cracked heel is to apply a petroleum based ointment such as vaseline or aquaphor and covering it with a large band-aid. If the callus is very thick and the fissure is deep, you may have to see a podiatrist for proper callus debridement in order for the crack to heel. 

How to prevent dry cracked heels?

To prevent dry cracked heels from forming the most important thing to do is moisturize and keep the callus thin. Using creams or balms that contain Urea, salicylic acid, and amlactin will help keep calluses thin and soft. In addition to moisturizing cream or balms, having a pumice stone or callus file is a good way to keep the calluses thin and under control.