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Dry, cracked heels are not only unsightly, but they can also be a source of pain and embarrassment. When the fissures in your heel become so dry and cracked that bleeding or pain when walking occurs, it may be time to seek professional care from your podiatrist at Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois. Left untreated, heel fissures can become so deep and painful that it leads to an infection.
Cracked heels are most commonly caused by splitting of the skin as a result of severe dryness or thickening of a callus on your heel. Severe cases of dry, cracked heels can occur for numerous reasons, including:
- Cold winter weather or dry climates
- Having diabetes
- Scrubbing feet too harshly
- Soaking in a hot bath or shower for too long or too frequently
- Not moisturizing the feet
- Increased weight
- Walking barefoot or wearing open-backed sandals or shoes
- Prolonged standing at work or home
- Chronic skin problems, such as eczema or psoriasis
Here are a few tips for keeping heels from cracking:
- Moisturize the feet daily
- Avoid walking barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes
- Opt for mild soaps that won’t dry out your heels
- Increase your water intake to keep your body hydrated
- Limit time in the shower as hot water dries out the skin
- Use a pumice stone or file as directed by your doctor to gently decrease the thick layer of skin
When to Visit us in Springfield
What may begin as an annoyance or simple cosmetic issue, cracked heels can lead to pain and serious infection if not managed properly. Most cases of dry, cracked heels will get better with a little foot pampering or over-the-counter foot cream.
When heels are severely cracked or painful and conservative treatments aren’t effective, visit our Springfield office. People with diabetes are at an especially high risk for health problems and should not wait to have dry feet cared for. Severely cracked heels need moisture to avoid pain, bleeding and infection. A podiatrist can work with you to relieve your cracked heels with conservative treatment options.
How to Maximize Your Game with Good Foot Health
When it comes to exercise, your feet are one of the most overlooked parts of the body, enduring tremendous strain and stress during a hard workout. It's no surprise that an athlete's foot and ankle are prime candidates for injuries. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), poor foot care during physical activity is a contributing factor to some of the more than 300 foot ailments.
The following tips may help prevent foot and ankle injuries to keep you in the game.
Get a check-up
Visit Foot & Ankle Center Of Illinois and your regular physician before starting any sport or fitness activity. This should include a complete foot and physical exam. During a foot exam, a podiatrist can identify whether your previously injured ankle is vulnerable to sprains, and recommend supportive ankle braces for increased stability.
Pre-workout warm up and stretch
Jogging before a competition or workout can help reduce the risk for foot and ankle injuries by warming up muscles, ligaments and blood vessels. Proper stretching before beginning a workout is also important. When muscles are properly stretched, the strain on joints, tendons and muscles is greatly reduced.
Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately
It's possible to injure bones in the foot or ankle without knowing it. What may seem like a sprain at the time may actually be a fracture. See a podiatrist at the first onset of ankle pain. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chance of preventing long-term problems like instability, and the sooner you can get back in the game.
Wear shoes specific to your sport
Different fitness programs require different footwear. Wearing the appropriate type of athletic shoe for your unique foot type and needs can help prevent foot problems while keeping you at your best performance. Remember to replace old, worn shoes in order to ensure optimal stability and support.
Pay attention to what your feet are telling you and remember to rest and consult our Springfield office when you first notice pain. Exercising is a great way to stay energized and fit, but if you're neglecting the health of your feet, you may be setting yourself up for serious injury.