When You Need to Talk to a Doctor About Cracked Feet
Everyone wants to have healthy and smooth feet, because they feel good and look fantastic. However, many have to deal with dry, cracked skin that at best, doesn’t look very good. It can be itchy or painful. The heels are particularly prone to this issue.
When this is a problem, you may not wear those cute sandals that you bought for the summer. Most of the time you can treat dry, cracked heels from the comfort of your own home, using supplies that you already have. However, there are times when you may need to see a podiatrist.
Why Do Heels Crack?
While our toes and heels crack most often, irritating cracks can occur anywhere on the feet. Sometimes, the cracks can be so painful that it is difficult to walk. Often, calluses may lead to these cracks because they have made the skin hard and thick. Once the skin is tough, then simply walking can split the area of the skin around the calluses.
One cause of calluses are shoes that are too tight. If the shoes don’t fit properly, your foot may become irritated where the shoe is rubbing against the skin. Calluses may also form if you often walk barefoot outside. If the calluses get thick enough, the skin is likely to crack. Being overweight, wearing shoes like flip flops, or standing for a long time can also make heels crack.
Those with conditions like eczema, psoriasis, thyroid problems, or diabetes are also at a higher risk for cracked heels due to poor circulation in the lower extremities. If you suffer from one of these conditions, it is important to speak with your doctor if you are having issues with your feet.
Treating Cracked Heels at Home
Usually, you can treat cracked skin at home and you’ll be healed quickly. A simple treatment is to put a thick coat of lotion on the surface of your feet. Make sure you really moisturize your toes and heels. Put on socks in a natural fiber like cotton or wool, so the lotion can stay on your skin instead of the bedsheets.
When you take a bath or shower the next morning, gently rub off the dead skin with a file or pumice stone. Before you know it, your feet will already start to look and feel better. If your feet are not improving, or if they are getting worse, it is time to call your doctor.
When to See a Specialist
There are a few times when you may need to call a podiatrist. Older people who get severe cracks should call a doctor immediately as these cracks may quickly transform into bedsores or ulcers. If you have an autoimmune disorder like HIV or diabetes, you will also want to contact a physician right away. Finally, if you are a healthy person, but the cracks don’t go away after an attempt at a home treatment, it is time to see a podiatrist.
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