Learning about the Causes and How to Prevent Cracked Heels


Your skin is much more than just a covering over your body and its organs. It protects you from dirt and infections. But it needs to be in good health if it must perform its protective function. Cracked skin is not just unseemly, it is also painful and it can be the entry point for infections.

Cracked skin is the result of tiny fissures that occur in dry, damaged skin. If not treated on time, these fissures can develop into deep cracks. A common area for these cracks is the heel. The heel normally has more dry and damaged skin than any other part of the body, since it carries the weight of the body all day. If the skin is not taken care of, it can become dry and cracked.

Symptoms

In the initial stages of heel cracks, the heel begins to feel tight with the slightest pressure. The problem can also be signified by intense dryness, itching and tenderness of the skin. The affected area hardens and becomes really dry, apart from changing colour to look yellow or brown.
In the more advanced stages, the heel becomes so cracked and dry that it becomes white in colour, or even reddish. The skin begins to flake and snag in clothing, such as in socks. The cracks can really deepen so much so that even walking or standing on the feet becomes painful. If left untreated even at this stage, the cracks soon begin to bleed and get infected with bacteria.

Causes

Dehydrated skin is often the first to get damaged and develops cracks. Once the skin loses moisture, the heel begins to produce thick areas of rough, toughened skin as a form of protection. But this layer of skin also prevents the skin from healing sufficiently. It might seem a little uncomfortable at first, but over time it becomes painful to walk on.

Rough, dry skin can also lead to calluses. Calluses are patches of yellowish thick, dry skin that grow over injured, broken skin in order to protect it. Over time, calluses can split under pressure. Open-backed shoes are a major cause of calluses – they do not provide any support for the foot pad. Barefoot walking and tight shoes can worsen the problem. Drying out of the skin, the use of harsh soaps and vigorous scrubbing can further exacerbate the problem.

Other factors that contribute to dry skin include: a lack of minerals and vitamins such as iron, obesity, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. Chronic skin conditions like psoriasis can also lead to skin dehydration. Other reasons are exposure to cold climates, prolonged exposure to indoor heating, and problems with pronation of the foot.

Treatment

Daily moisturizing of the skin is an effective way to prevent the occurrence of cracked skin. Scholl Cracked Heel Repair Cream Active Repair K+ hydrates and softens cracked heels in just two weeks by improving the skin’s elasticity. Apply it twice a day on clean, dry skin. Massage it directly onto the feet until it is completely absorbed. Once the skin is restored to velvety softness, use Scholl Dry Skin Recovery Cream to protect it against further dryness. You will also need a foot file to fight against dry skin; this removes the dead skin layer-by-layer gently and safely till smoother, softer skin is revealed.
When it comes to cracked skin, prevention is always better than cure. It’s important that you give your feet the same care and attention that you give the rest of your body. If you’re pressed for time, you can soften the hard skin by soaking your feet in warm water. And always wear shoes that protect and support the pad of the foot, steering clear of shoes that are too loose or too tight.