Heel fissures are a common foot problem that can be painful, uncomfortable, and even dangerous for people with diabetes. These deep cracks or splits in the thick skin of the heels often look like a jagged line in the bottom of your feet.
The pain associated with heel fissures can range from mild discomfort to sharp or burning sensations with each step. In severe cases, our Arizona heel pain specialist adds, heel fissures can become infected and may require medical attention.
Common Causes of Heel Fissures
Heel fissures develop when the skin on the feet becomes dry and cracks. This can create an opening in the foot that can lead to an infection if bacteria get in. There are several factors that can cause heel fissures, such as:
- Living in a dry climate: such as Arizona
- Developing dry skin from lack of moisture
- Wearing shoes without socks or shoes that do not fit properly
- Walking barefoot
- Standing for long periods of time
- Being overweight
- Having a medical condition such as diabetes: poor circulation, or psoriasis
Why Heel Fissures Are Dangerous for Diabetics
Heel fissures can be especially dangerous for those with diabetes because their weakened immune systems make them more prone to infection. If left untreated, an infection could spread quickly throughout the body and become life-threatening if not treated immediately with antibiotics or other medications prescribed by a doctor.
For this reason, it is important to see a podiatrist as soon as possible if you suspect you have heel fissures so that they can be properly treated before they develop into something more serious.
Treating Heel Fissures
The best way to treat heel fissures is to see a podiatrist who will evaluate your feet and recommend a treatment plan tailored specifically to your condition. Treatment may include the following:
- Moisturizing creams and ointments
- Shoe inserts that provide arch support
- Prescription antibiotics if there is an infection present
- Removal of the thick skin on the heel using a special tool
- Taping the fissure together to prevent further splitting
It is important to follow your doctor's instructions closely in order to ensure proper healing and avoid any further complications from developing.
Heel Fissures Prevention Tips
Heel fissures are a common foot ailment that can cause discomfort, pain, and even infection. There are several steps you can take to prevent or minimize heel fissures, such as:
- Stay hydrated. One of the most important steps to preventing heel fissures is to make sure you stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help keep your feet soft and supple, reducing the likelihood of cracks appearing on your heels. Additionally, if you already have some heel fissures, staying hydrated will help keep the skin around the area moisturized and reduce the risk of further damage.
- Wear proper footwear. Another way to minimize your chances of developing heel fissures is by wearing shoes that fit properly and give your feet enough room to breathe. Shoes that are too tight or pinch your feet can cause unnecessary pressure on specific areas of your feet, which can lead to cracking in the skin around your heels. You will also want to avoid walking barefoot or in shoes that expose your heels.
- Exfoliate regularly. Regular exfoliation is vital when it comes to preventing heel fissures because it helps remove any dead skin cells from the surface of your feet and keeps them looking smooth and soft. You can use a loofah or pumice stone in circular motions over your feet at least once weekly for the best results.
- Moisturize daily. After exfoliating your feet, it is important to follow up with a good moisturizing routine as well in order to keep your skin healthy and hydrated at all times. Avoid applying moisturizer between your toes.