Skin knowledge Guide What to do with cracks on the heels?
Woman feels cracks on heels with hand

What to do with cracks on the heels?
Everything about the causes and prevention of chapping

Struggling with dryness and cracking on your heels? Here you can learn more about the prevention and treatment of unpleasant chapped skin.

What can be the causes of cracks on the heels?

Dry skin on the heels can have many causes. The most common causes are genetic predisposition to dry skin (neurodermatitis tendency), the aging process of the skin and climatic conditions such as dry air in winter. Other causes can be pressure-related deficiency due to incorrect footwear, standing for long periods of time or wearing compression stockings. Sometimes diseases such as diabetes or medications (for example, some cancer therapies) are also responsible. If the dryness on the feet intensifies, this can lead, for example, to small cracks on the heels and finally to fissures (so-called rhagades). These can be recognized by deep furrows in the skin where the tissue breaks open. To prevent the cracks on the heels from getting deeper and eventually becoming inflamed, it is important to treat rhagades properly or, even better, to prevent rhagades from forming in good time.

How can you prevent dry, cracked skin on heels and feet?

To avoid dry heels in general, precaution can do a lot. To prevent brittle and dry patches from forming in the first place, you should regularly take a foot bath for about 10 to 20 minutes. This softens the skin and you can carefully remove the callus, i.e. the excess, dead skin cells mechanically with a pumice stone.

You should also give your feet sufficient moisture. Dry your feet carefully after a foot bath or an extensive shower. Afterwards, apply a foot cream that has been specially developed for the care of extremely dry and rough feet.

Also make sure that your shoes fit properly. This will help you avoid pressure points and give cornification on the heels no chance. For diabetics in particular, but also for those with excessive callus formation, regular foot care treatment by a podiatrist is also recommended.

Close up cracks on the heels

Treatment of cracks on the heels and feet

If, despite good care, you develop cracks or chapped heels, it is advisable to treat them specifically. Cracks on the heels are not only unsightly, but can also cause severe pain and in the worst case lead to inflammation. Cracks cause the natural protective cover of the body to be attacked and pathogens such as bacteria or fungal spores can penetrate. If the dry and cracked heels show signs of inflammation, then we recommend that you see a doctor and thus get specialized treatment for the infection.

Zwei Füße, die unter der Bettdecke liegen

If there is no inflammation, you can treat the affected area yourself. Since the horny areas need a lot of moisture and lipids, we recommend a rich ointment for chapped feet. The optimal time to let this act is during sleep, as our feet are not stressed during the night. Apply a generous amount of cream to the affected areas on your feet before going to bed, then put on a pair of cotton socks if necessary and wear them all night. This will allow the ointment to take full effect. The treatment of chapped feet requires time and patience, often the first successes are visible after 1 to 2 weeks.  After the successful treatment of chapped feet, you should continue to use a special chapping ointment or foot creams containing urea to prevent the formation of new cracks on the heels.

Recommended products for the treatment of cracks on the heels

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