The short days and cold winds are on the way! Yes, it’s that time of year when we snuggle indoors and get the heaters on. Unfortunately the arrival of winter can also lead to the increased lack of foot care.

We exercise outdoor less, we keep our winter socks on…. we generally just hibernate!

Unfortunately it is common during the cooler months for your skin to dry out which can lead to a  higher risk of cracked skin. Cracked heels can not only be painful but for certain people can lead to high risk of infection and other complications.

Am I at risk of cracked heels?

There are a few risk factors that can lead to an increased chance of cracking skin. Some of these factors include:

  • Your genetic make up.
  • Weight – being overweight can increase risk due to added pressure requiring increased elasticity in the skin.
  • Medical conditions – people with conditions including diabetes, vascular disease, thyroid problems, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis conditions are at increased risk.
  • Medications – there are many medications that can add to skin dryness.
  • Inappropriate footwear – too loose or too open footwear
  • Environmental – barefoot walking, exposure to extremes of temperature, exposure to heat.

What can I do at home to stop cracked heels?

A great way to help avoid some of the issues is to take a little extra care of your feet in the winter months. Every month set aside some time to soak and exfoliate your feet.

As the skin around cracked heels is often thicker and drier than the rest of your skin it can split easily. To avoid this try soaking and moisturising your feet can help with this.

Try these simple tips:

  • Keep your feet in lukewarm, soapy water for up to 20 minutes.
  • Use a loofah or pumice stone to remove any hard, thick skin.
  • Gently pat your feet dry and apply a heel balm/moisturiser.
  • Sit back, relax and let your feet air dry.
  • Avoid scrubbing your feet when they’re dry. This increases your risk for damaged skin.

How can a podiatrist help me?

At Fit Foot Podiatry we are best placed to assess and treat you from the start. We can help identify causes and symptoms as well as give you the best advice to help keep your feet healthy and stop the risk of future issues. Cracks can often be quite painful and need to be treated by a Podiatrist, to prevent infection and further cracking.

In the clinic we can expertly use a sterile surgical blade to painlessly remove the thickened skin which gives a much smoother result. After this has been properly removed, creams and balms can then penetrate a lot better.

Finally if your callus is caused by pressure points we can prescribe foot orthotics to redistribute this pressure and improve foot function.

If you constantly have to bear the pain of cracked heels, the get in touch with us today and let’s help treat the issue. Appointments are available - click here to book.