When you’re strutting around in sandals or snuggling with your honey under the covers, the last thing you want are heels that are rough and that hurt, too. Take heart, the regimen to treat and heal your cracked heels works well and is so easy, you can even do some steps in your sleep!
Heels and Toes—Exposed
To avoid any problem, you need to know the cause:
• Open back shoes and sandals allow your feet to lose moisturizing oils. When you wear them, the fat pads in your heels expand sideways, which increases pressure on your skin. Both of those things can lead to cracked heels, if you’re not taking preventative steps.
• Being overweight increases the pressure on your heel’s fat pad in the same way.
• Standing for long periods of time, especially on hard floors.
• Certain foot problems that put pressure on your heels already, like plantar fasciitis.
• Medical conditions that cause dry skin, including diabetes, infections, psoriasis and underactive thyroid.
5 Steps to Prevention
Take the time to follow this regimen to keep heels smooth:
• Treat your feet with a moisturizer every day.
• Wear padded socks to pamper those heel pads.
• Wear insoles, orthotics or other comfort aids in your shoes to prevent calluses which can lead to drier skin and cracked heels,
• A few days a week, wear closed back shoes to give time for the natural oils in your skin to do their job.
• Use a pumice stone in the shower up to two times a week—unless you have diabetes or neuropathy in your feet. Let your feet soak up water for about 5 minutes then gently use the pumice stone to smooth calluses and other rough spots because these can lead to cracked heels.
• Once or twice a week, apply moisturizer to your feet then sleep in socks.
If dry, cracked heels are dampening the delight of your sunny days, here’s a 2-week treatment plan to help you reclaim your joie de vivre:
• Before bed, soak your feet or take a shower to help your feet absorb the moisturizing cream that you’ve slathered on after you’ve dried your feet.
• To hold the moisture in, wear socks while you sleep. You may also want to try special moisturizing socks. Some people prefer to wear a heel sleeve or sock, which is like a sock that only covers your heels and leaves your toes bare.
• Once your heels aren’t sore, gently use a pumice stone every other day to remove dry, thick skin.
See your doctor if you have any of these signs of infection: redness, swelling, or pain that lasts for more than a few days.
When your heels feel good as new, follow the steps for prevention to help keep the cracks from coming right back.
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American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Foot Health Facts: Healthy Feet for an Active Life.org “Avoid Risks of Summer Heat to Diabetic Feet.” http://www.foothealthfacts.org/Content.aspx?id=1149&terms=sandals
American Podiatric Medical Association. APMA.org “Pedicure Pointers: The Dos and Don’ts for Fabulous Feet.” http://www.apma.org/Learn/HealthyFeetTips.cfm?ItemNumber=9859
Foot & Ankle Center of Washington: “Cracked/Dry Heels.” http://www.footankle.com/self-care/cracked-heels-fissures-home-treatment/
Institute for Preventive Foot Health IPFH.org:
“Causes of Cracked Heels,” http://www.ipfh.org/foot-conditions/foot-conditions-a-z/cracked-heels/causes-of-cracked-heels/
“Prevention and Treatment of Cracked Heels” http://www.ipfh.org/foot-conditions/foot-conditions-a-z/cracked-heels/prevention-and-treatment-of-cracked-heels/
“Medical Considerations for Cracked Heels” http://www.ipfh.org/foot-conditions/foot-conditions-a-z/cracked-heels/medical-considerations-for-cracked-heels/