Cracked heels can be a painful and embarrassing problem for many people. The buildup of hard, callused skin around the periphery of the heel due to weight bearing forces can become extremely uncomfortable, and when it splits and fissures – deep cracks may form which can be painful and sometimes even ulcerate.
In our experience, women are far more prone to cracked heels than men – principally because (in Queensland) they tend to use open back shoes more frequently. This causes the skin to dry out more, and make it far more prone to fissuring.
Cracked heels need to be treated with a combination of skin debridement and the use of keratolytic creams.
In the first instance, our podiatrists will aggressively remove as much of the thickened, callused skin as possible. This is usually completely painless. Often we will use a mechanical drill to smooth down the irregular skin, leaving the heel much closer to its original skin thickness. In the process, the vast majority of the cracks and fissures are also removed.
Regular use of a strong keratolytic cream, such as our MD Formulations Pedicreme, helps to then control the return of the problem, and make it easier for self care at home with a pumice stone or similar. Ongoing periodic podiatry treatments are usually necessary to maintain a smooth and normal appearance to the heel.