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Cracked heels, also known as fissures, can be a nuisance and even bleed sometimes. A number of factors can raise the risk of developing cracked heels, including obesity, wearing open-heel footwear such as sandals, and having cold, dry skin, according to Mayo Clinic.
Regularly exposing to hot water during showers dries the skin too, especially if it’s not moisturized within about 10 minutes after you get out of the bath. Harsh soaps and detergents can damage the natural skin barrier and cause water loss from the skin. It can occasionally lead to more serious problems if left untreated.
- Treat your cracked heels by giving your feet a little more attention, beginning with deep moisturizing them at least twice a day. Look for thick moisturizers (Eucerin, Cetaphil, others).
- Some moisturizers contain skin-softening agents, such as urea, petroleum jelly, glycerin, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid, which may help remove dead skin.
- Give your heels extra attention before going to bed: Soak your feet for about 10 minutes in plain or soapy water and pat dry. Then gently rub your heels with a loofah or foot scrubber to help remove dead skin.
- Apply a heavier, oil-based cream or petroleum jelly (Vaseline, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, others), then slip on a pair of thin cotton socks at bedtime to help the moisturizer work.
- Don’t ignore dry, cracked heels, as over time you may develop deeper fissures, which increases your risk of infection. If self-care measures don’t help, talk with your health care provider about other treatment options.