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Cracked Heels

Date Added: January 16, 2016 06:48:10 AM
Author:
Category: Dermatology: Heel Fissures

 

Splits in the skin at the back of the heel are common, are painful, and never appear very good. This occurs if the fat pad under the heel expands out sideways beneath the heel bone and the dry skin cracks or splits to develop a heel fissure. A good way to understand these is to use the example of a tomato being squashed. When you apply pressure to the tomato to squash it, the skin around the tomato splits as the insides forces outwards. So it is with the heel. As bodyweight squashes the fat under the heel it stretches out laterally from beneath the heel, it tries to tear the epidermis around the perimeter of the heel. Whether or not it succeeds or not is going to depend on how elastic and strong that the epidermis is. If the skin is dry, thicker or callused, it is going to tear quickly. If the skin is thicker with a covering of callus, that skin will crack easily and put a strain on the good skin underneath that can become very painful, sometimes bleeding. Each step that is taken with even further open the fissure which will help prevent it from healing. Cracked heels are more prevalent in those that use open heel type shoes, as a closed in shoe can help keep the fat pad under the heel in position and help avoid or lessen the effects of this.
The most effective short term management of cracked heels is to have the callused skin removed by a podiatrist and then use tape to hold the edges of the crack together so that it can heal. The long term protection against cracked skin around the heel ought to be clear from the mechanism that was explained above. To begin with, losing weight will help reduce the problem, but this is a long term measure. To help stop the fat pad beneath the heel from expanding out sideways and trying to crack the skin, a closed in shoe can be used and sometimes the use of deep heel cup inserts can help. A foot doctor really should be consulted on a regular basis to remove any dry callused skin. Emollients really should be applied regularly to keep the skin resilient so that it does not split. The use of filing tools to maintain the thick skin in check may also be used.

Splits in the skin at the back of the heel are common, are painful, and never appear very good. This occurs if the fat pad under the heel expands out sideways beneath the heel bone and the dry skin cracks or splits to develop a heel fissure. A good way to understand these is to use the example of a tomato being squashed. When you apply pressure to the tomato to squash it, the skin around the tomato splits as the insides forces outwards. So it is with the heel. As bodyweight squashes the fat under the heel it stretches out laterally from beneath the heel, it tries to tear the epidermis around the perimeter of the heel. Whether or not it succeeds or not is going to depend on how elastic and strong that the epidermis is. If the skin is dry, thicker or callused, it is going to tear quickly. If the skin is thicker with a covering of callus, that skin will crack easily and put a strain on the good skin underneath that can become very painful, sometimes bleeding. Each step that is taken with even further open the fissure which will help prevent it from healing. Cracked heels are more prevalent in those that use open heel type shoes, as a closed in shoe can help keep the fat pad under the heel in position and help avoid or lessen the effects of this.

 

The most effective short term management of cracked heels is to have the callused skin removed by a podiatrist and then use tape to hold the edges of the crack together so that it can heal. The long term protection against cracked skin around the heel ought to be clear from the mechanism that was explained above. To begin with, losing weight will help reduce the problem, but this is a long term measure. To help stop the fat pad beneath the heel from expanding out sideways and trying to crack the skin, a closed in shoe can be used and sometimes the use of deep heel cup inserts can help. A foot doctor really should be consulted on a regular basis to remove any dry callused skin. Emollients really should be applied regularly to keep the skin resilient so that it does not split. The use of filing tools to maintain the thick skin in check may also be used.

 

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