(advisory by Roy Khoo, Guardian Patient Care Pharmacist)
How do cracked heels happen?
The heels act as the absorbent and cushion on the bottom of the feet. When it is dry, it may crack and split open, leaving an open lesion that can be painful especially during walking or standing.
What are the risk factors that cause cracked heels?
Some of the common risk factors include
- Prolonged standing
- Dry skin
- Living in cold weather
- Over soaking in water
Why diabetics tend to have cracked heels?
Diabetic patients tend to have poorer blood circulation to the feet. As such, the supply of essential nutrients to the feet will be compromised and the skin will be dry and prone to cracking.
Does weight loss in overweight people help in cracked heels?
As our heels work as the cushion to support the overall body weight, any increase in body weight causes the heels to thicken and expand. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on the heels and subsequently prevents cracking.
Why I still have a dry heel even though I try to shower frequently and even soak my feet in water every day?
Dry skin is not related to the frequency of shower but the ability of the skin to retain moisture. Too frequent showers or prolonged foot-soaking can affect the skin texture. The skin will not be able to retain the moisture effectively. Besides, dampened skin tends to break down easily under pressure. The best way to prevent dry heels is to use a moisturizer right after shower.
What are the common ways to prevent cracked heels?
Firstly, do ensure your skin is well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Secondly, wear socks made of breathable materials and closed in shoes whenever possible. Then, use heel cups or insoles that can help to distribute the pressure evenly. This stops the heels from expanding excessively and crack.