Cracked Heels are an unsightly, uncomfortable and sometimes a painful problem around the back of the heel. While most cases are just an annoyance, in some cases the cracks can be a portal for an infection to get in, so they do need to be taken seriously.
What Causes Cracked Heels
Unfortunately, some people just tend to have a naturally dry skin and thicker skin around the heel that predisposes them to the cracks. In other people, the thickened dry skin (callus) that does develop around the heel is often due to mechanical factors that increase pressures in that area (eg the way you walk). Prolonged standing at work or home, especially on hard floors may also play a role and so does being overweight (this increases the pressure on the normal fat pad under the heel, causing it to expand sideways – if the skin is not supple and flexible, the pressures to ‘crack’ are high). An open back on the shoes are also thought to play a role.
Consider the Tomato Analogy
Consider a tomato resting on the bench: if you push on it from above, it wants to expand out sideways so the skin of the tomato eventually cracks. This is what happens to the normal fat pad under your heel. As your body weight pushes down, the fat wants to expand sideways and there is increased pressure on the skin to crack. If the weight is excessive (eg prolonged standing) and the skin is not supple (eg callus and/or the skin is dry) and nothing is helping hold the the fat pad under the foot (eg wearing an open backed shoes). Does that make sense?
Treatment of Cracked Heels
Perhaps the treatment should be reasonably obvious after reading the above causes. First, you need to get rid of the hard skin (callus) that is cracking. A skilled podiatrist can do this or you could do it yourself with our foot filer. Then you need a apply a cream to make the skin more supple. Urea based creams are better for this. This needs to be applied daily (maybe twice a day initially). You will need to continue to periodically remove the thicker skin with the foot filer and continue with the cream. If you have a more serious case, it might pay to apply a lot of the cream at night and use one of our silicone gel heel cups to wear over it so that the cream really does soak in overnight.
FootStore.au Products for Cracked Heels
As it is so important to keep the skin around the heals supple and flexible so it does not crack, we recommended Walker’s Urea cream. The Foot Filer is also useful to reduce the hard skin that cracks.