Our feet are often hidden in socks and shoes, and we may only notice hard skin when it starts to crack and becomes sore. Deep cracks in heels can also become infected if you ignore them. If you are worried about cracked heels with pain, in this post we explain the causes and the solutions to recover soft and smooth feet.
WHAT CAUSES DEEP CRACKS IN HEELS?
Deep cracks or splits in the skin on your heels are also referred to as heel fissures and result from pressure and a build-up of dry, dead skin cells. When this skin becomes thick, it cannot maintain hydration, which keeps skin soft and subtle. This lack of moisture leads to cracks which can become deep, sore and painful.
If you wear high heels, participate in sports or enjoy walking or running, you put your feet under pressure. Unless you regularly remove hard skin on your heels and moisturise, you will likely suffer from cracked heels and dry feet. Even if you are not very active, if you don’t regularly apply moisturiser to dry skin on your heels, they can end up cracking.
Common causes of hard skin and cracked heels are:
- High heels and footwear with no support, like flip flops and shoes with thin, hard soles
- Footwear that is too tight or loose
- Walking barefoot (especially outside)
- Long, hot showers or baths
- Wearing open-heeled footwear such as sandals
- Taking hot baths or showers
- Standing for long periods
- Damp feet in socks.
ARE CRACKED HEELS NORMAL?
Your heel has a pad of fatty tissue and elastic fibres that provide an internal shock absorber to prevent pain and injury when you walk, run or put your feet under pressure during an activity. Skin in the heel pad can become thicker as dead skin cells build up, and over time, lack of moisture can cause the skin to split. This is normal, and most people will notice hard skin on their heels or occasional small splits.
Using a pumice stone or foot file once a week and applying LOVASKIN Instant Moisturizer daily will generally prevent dead skin build-up and deep cracks in heels. However, as you age, your skin loses elasticity and it is more likely to be dry and crack.
Health conditions that can cause cracked heels include:
- Skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis
- Tinea pedis (athlete’s foot)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjögren's syndrome.
CRACKED HEELS SYMPTOMS
Treating the symptoms of cracked heels early is the best way to prevent deep cracks in heels, also referred to as heel fissures. There are six stages of skin hardening and eventually splitting:
- Heels start to feel uncomfortable when standing or walking
- Heel skin starts to itch and may turn a white, yellow or brown colour
- Heel skin feels tough and may start to flake
- Small splits in the skin appear and may become sore
- Splits become deep cracks in heels and will probably be painful, especially when under any pressure
- Deep cracks in heels might bleed and become infected.
Signs of infection include warmth, redness, swelling and tenderness when touching the skin or applying pressure. If you have any of these symptoms, you should speak with your GP before using any LOVASKIN foot care products.
CAN CRACKED HEELS HEAL ON THEIR OWN?
Cracked heels won't heal on their own; without treatment they will always get worse and result in painful, deep cracks in your heels. Over time, heel cracks will become more profound. This can result in bleeding and infections, called cellulitis. It is essential to visit your GP if you have diabetes and notice deep cracks in your heels, as they can lead to diabetic foot ulcers.
But there are ways to help cracks heal and get smooth, healthy skin. Let’s explain how to get beautiful feet and keep them that way.
TREATING AND PREVENTING CRACKED HEELS
You should remove dry, thick or flaking heel skin with a good quality stainless steel foot file, or use a pumice stone. Do not try to remove skin with deep cracks, bleeding or any signs of an infection.
Try using an antiseptic cream, such as Savlon. If symptoms don’t improve after three days or seem to be getting worse, visit your GP for advice. You may need antibiotics, or you could have an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed and treated.
If cracks are shallow or not causing any pain, you can gently file the skin to remove any build-up of dead skin cells and reduce the depth of splits and cracks. Although it may be tempting to keep going until the skin is smooth, always stop as soon as your skin feels sore or starts to look red.
To speed up the removal of hard, thick heel skin and reduce deep heel cracks fast, our LOVASKIN foot peel is clinically proven to remove dead skin and calluses in under 2 minutes. Just look at what our customers say about the results you can get after just one application of LOVASKIN foot peel, followed by LOVASKIN moisturiser.
Once your heels have healed and all of the cracks have disappeared, you can do a few things to help prevent cracked heels from happening again.
Our top five tips for healthy, happy feet are:
- Water — drink lots of water because if you’re dehydrated, your skin is more likely to become dry and split.
- Socks — wear socks made from cotton or sports socks designed to help reduce sweating and keep feet dry.
- Footwear — choose footwear with cushioned soles and limit how often you wear heels or shoes with thin, hard soles.
- Insoles — supportive and cushioned insoles can transform footwear and help to reduce pressure on the heels.
- Dry feet — keep your feet dry and make sure you dry your feet properly after having a bath or shower.
Your feet matter - give them the care they deserve.
LOVASKIN FOOT CARE PRODUCTS AND KITS ARE A SIMPLE WAY TO TREAT THICK, HARD SKIN ON YOUR FEET. GET FEET YOU CAN BE PROUD OF WITH SOFT, TOUCHABLE SKIN YOU WANT TO SHOW OFF.