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Family Foot & Ankle

Soothing Cracked Heels

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Cracks can be aggravating—a cracked windshield, for example, or perhaps a cracked cell phone screen (something most parents of teenagers are probably familiar with). Your heels can crack, too, with especially dry, thick skin fracturing into deep fissures that can be painful and even lead to bleeding and infection. If this sort of problem happens to you with some frequency, we can relate.

Fortunately, most cracked heels (also known as heel fissures) can be soothed at home using gentle care methods. The number 1 thing you can do is use an oil-based moisturizer in the morning (after a shower) and again at night to help keep your skin from drying out. This could include products like petroleum jelly or eucalyptus oil, or even homemade soaks containing water, lemon juice, and other ingredients. We do recommend that you avoid using any products that contain alcohol, however. After applying before bed, put on a clean pair of socks to lock in the moisture.

To deal with flaky, thickened skin, grab a pumice stone and gently debride some of the dead skin each day. Don’t go overboard, though, and definitely never cut your calluses with a knife or scissors, as this can lead to injury and infection.

One more thing—are you engaging in any behaviors that increase the likelihood of dry skin and cracking on your feet? Minimizing periods of prolonged standings and avoiding too much barefoot walking or open-heeled shoes can help prevent future cases.

If your heel fissures are especially painful, irritated, bleeding, or infected, don’t try to handle the problem on your own—stop by Family Foot & Ankle Center for a professional evaluation and specialized podiatric care. We may not be able to do anything about your teenager’s cracked smartphone, but cracked heels are a specialty. We have several offices in and around Cincinnati to serve you best. Request an appointment online, or give us a call toll free at 888-689-3317.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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