Over summer Instep Podiatry saw a notable increase in patients presenting with fissured (cracked) heels. However, this comes as no surprise given the climate in the Queensland region over summer.
Fissuring of the heels is caused by the reduced elasticity of skin when it becomes dry (think of cracked lips) from excessive evaporation of perspiration from being exposed to the hot weather. Air-conditioning can be an often overlooked culprit, with one of its functions being to reduce the humidity or water vapour in the air to allow evaporative cooling of our skin to keep us cooler overall. This leads to increased evaporation of moisture i.e. perspiration, drying out the skin.
Open shoes such as thongs or sandals can also contribute to fissuring of the heels. The lack of support around the soft tissue of the heel from the sandals compared to closed in shoes can allow more tension to occur in the heels, pulling the skin apart. In addition, there can also be increased callus formation from the lack of support and increased pressure on the heels. This thick, inflexible layer of hard skin cannot expand, leaving deep fissures.
The problem with cracked heels is that they can become quite painful and even bleed without treatment. If you also have other conditions, such as diabetes, serious infections can occur requiring medical intervention.
During a consultation, one of our podiatrists can assess the level of attention your feet need and use manual and mechanical (if needed) debridement to remove the calluses and thickened skin from your heels. Additionally, our podiatrists will be able to discuss with you effective prevention techniques, that will remain valuable in the hotter, humid months.
To learn more about causes and treatments or book a consultation with one our podiatrists contact us today!
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