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Heel fissures commonly occur in feet, especially in winter when the air is dry. They are basically cracked heels which if not treated, can lead to serious medical problems. They form at the junction of the two types of foot skin, glabrous and hairy skin at the rim and bottom of the heel.
This skin rim is a smooth transition of the two types of skin in most people. However in the obese, the rim becomes abrupt because of their excess weight. This creates a callus around the heel rim, and these heel fissures are secondary to the callus formation.
It is during the thickening of the callus that it becomes dry and flaky to produce deep cracks that may not only be painful but may also bleed and get infected. This problem is most problematic in people who have a lack of sensation in the foot like in diabetes.Causes
Having too moist skin leads to the growth of fungus and bacteria which only weakens your skin and consequently leads to fissures. Excess sweat and not drying your feet properly after bathing can make your foot skin moist.
Besides obesity and moist skin, age, prolonged periods of standing and skin conditions like eczema are other causes. Even diabetes, flat feet and athlete’s foot are all additional causes for them.Treatment
There is basically no cure for heel fissures. A better alternative is to prevent them by preventing deep, painful cracks. This is best done through continuous maintenance and foot care like periodic debridement after a shower and soaking your feet.
Also make it a point to regularly use softening creams having softening agents to moisturize the foot. Creams having additives like urea or salicylic acid help to chemically debride the callus.
You could also try using heel pads or cups to redistribute the weight of the heel over a broader area. It is better to avoid going anywhere barefoot and to wear open backed shoes or sandals or shoes having thin soles.
Even shoes with strong shock absorption help in improving the condition. As an added preventive measure for heel fissures, wear socks over your moisturized feet before sleeping.
In case you have too moist skin, your doctor may suggest oral medication or some anti-fungal foot lotion. In case of too dry skin, antibiotic ointments may also be applied on the foot as prevention from fissures.