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  • Writer's pictureTina Dang

How to get rid of heel fissures!



Painful heel fissures

Introduction


Heel fissures, often referred to as cracked heels, are a common foot condition that can cause discomfort and even pain. This issue occurs when the skin on the heel becomes dry, thick, and rigid, leading to the development of small, painful cracks. While heel fissures are generally not considered a severe medical condition, they can be painful and, if left untreated, may lead to more significant problems especially in people with Diabetes. In this blog, we'll delve into what heel fissures are, their causes, and how a podiatrist can help prevent and treat them.



What Are Heel Fissures?


  • Heel fissures are essentially deep cracks or splits that develop on the skin of the heels

  • Usually appear along the bottom edge of the heel and can range from minor surface cracks to deeper, more painful splits. T

  • These fissures can be both unsightly and uncomfortable, often causing pain and difficulty walking. In severe cases, they may even lead to bleeding, infection, and serious complications.



Common Causes of Heel Fissures

Several factors contribute to the development of heel fissures, including:


  1. Dry Skin: One of the primary causes of heel fissures is excessively dry skin. When the skin on the heels loses its natural moisture, it becomes less flexible, making it more prone to cracking. Dry skin can be triggered by various factors, such as harsh weather, low humidity, dehydration, and excessive use of soaps and hot water during foot care routines.

  2. Excessive Pressure: Heel fissures are more likely to occur when there's excessive pressure on the heel area. This can result from prolonged standing or walking, obesity, or ill-fitting footwear, all of which can stress the skin on the heels and lead to the formation of cracks.

  3. Skin Conditions: Certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, can make individuals more susceptible to heel fissures. These conditions often cause dry, flaky skin, which can crack more easily.

  4. Age: As we age, our skin tends to lose some of its natural elasticity and moisture. This can make elderly individuals more susceptible to heel fissures.

  5. Poor Foot Hygiene: Neglecting proper foot hygiene can also contribute to the development of heel fissures. Infrequent moisturizing, exfoliating, and maintaining clean feet can all increase the risk of cracked heels.

  6. Health Conditions: Some health conditions, such as diabetes and thyroid condition, can affect the body's ability to maintain healthy skin, making individuals with these conditions more prone to developing heel fissures.


How a Podiatrist Can Help Prevent Heel Fissures


Podiatrists are medical professionals who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle conditions. When it comes to heel fissures, we can provide valuable guidance and interventions to prevent and manage this common issue effectively. Here are some ways in which podiatrists can help:


  1. Assessment and Diagnosis: A podiatrist will start by examining your feet to determine the cause and severity of your heel fissures. We can identify any underlying conditions that may be contributing to the problem.

  2. Customised Foot Care Advice: At Oran Park Podiatry, we offer personalised foot care advice based on your specific needs. We can recommend suitable moisturisers, suggest proper foot hygiene routines, and provide guidance on selecting the right footwear to alleviate pressure on your heels.

  3. Treatment Plans: For those already dealing with heel fissures, a podiatrist can develop a tailored treatment plan. This may include removal of dry and dead skin, application of suitable urea creams which available in different strength in our clinic, and other interventions to promote healing.

  4. Orthotics: Podiatrists can prescribe custom orthotic devices to support the arch of the foot and reduce pressure on the heels. These can be particularly beneficial for individuals with excessive pressure-related fissures.

  5. Addressing Underlying Conditions: If a specific medical condition is contributing to heel fissures, such as diabetes, a podiatrist can work with other healthcare providers to manage the underlying condition. This holistic approach helps in preventing future fissures.

  6. Professional Maintenance: For individuals with recurring or severe heel fissures, podiatrists can provide ongoing professional maintenance. Regular visits to remove dead skin and monitor the condition can help prevent fissures from worsening.

  7. Advice on Footwear: Podiatrists can offer recommendations on the most appropriate footwear, taking into account your foot shape, gait, and any existing conditions. Proper footwear can reduce the risk of developing heel fissures.

  8. Education: A significant part of a podiatrist's role is patient education. They can educate you about the importance of foot hygiene, the benefits of regular and suitable moisturisation, and how to recognise the early signs of heel fissures.



Conclusion

Heel fissures can be painful and unsightly, but with proper care and guidance from a podiatrist, they can be effectively managed and prevented.

Remember that heel fissures can lead to more severe complications if left untreated, so it's crucial to address them promptly. Don't hesitate to consult a podiatrist for a professional assessment and personalised guidance on how to maintain healthy, crack-free heels.

Your feet work hard to support you, so it's essential to give them the attention and care they deserve.

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