Now that we’re in the last legs of summer, we may start to see some changes in our feet. All of this extra activity during the warmer months from swimming, hiking, or playing barefoot in the yard is sure to take a toll on our feet. Sometimes this added activity paired with the exposure of open toed shoes can set us up for developing cracked heels. When the fragile skin on the bottoms of our feet are exposed to the elements, it can dry out and irritate our skin. This can cause the skin to break and form “cracks” on our heels that can be painful and difficult to walk on. Some causes of cracked heels can include the following:
- Harsh weather, especially colder temperatures
- Experiencing dehydration when you don’t drink enough water
- Taking frequent hot showers, baths, or soaking in a hot tub
- Scrubbing or exfoliating too much
- Using soaps that are harsh and drying to the skin
Our feet are responsible for carrying the weight of our bodies–they get us from one point to another and have carried us through all of our happiest memories. How can we avoid something like painful, dry, cracked heels from occurring? There are some simple steps you can take to aid in getting smooth, comfortable heels. When you do the following with the guidance of your podiatrist, it becomes easier to avoid developing dry, cracked heels:
- Drink plenty of water! Hydration is our best defense against dry skin.
- Avoid excessively hot water, i.e., in the shower, or in a hot tub.
- Treat yourself to an occasional pedicure and pamper your feet!
- Develop the habit of moisturizing your feet daily, you could even turn it into a massage!
When you follow these simple steps and develop habits, such as drinking water or regularly moisturizing your feet, treating or avoiding painful, dry, cracked heels becomes much easier. It is important to note that dry, cracked heels are susceptible to infection due to the open skin allowing bacteria and viruses to enter easily. Cracked heels can also be a warning sign of diabetes or obesity. At your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney, be sure to mention if your dry, cracked heels are persistent and painful. Call McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. today at (713) 946-1500 or visit us online to schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area.