With spring in full swing, the warmer weather means we’re swapping our boots for sandals and open-toed shoes, and while it feels great, for many of us it’s the first step towards our annual occurrence: dry skin and cracked heels.
While making the switch to open-toed and airy shoes is a brilliant first step towards keeping conditions like Athlete’s foot under better control, cracked heels can quickly become a painful, itchy and uncomfortable problem.
Some people aren’t bothered by a little dryness, while others must deal with the consequences of the cracks not only affecting the outer layer of dry, callused skin – but also the healthy skin beneath. This means their cracks can bleed, burn, sting and be vulnerable to infection as the cracks quickly turn into a portal of entry for bacteria, fungus and viruses.
When to see a podiatrist for cracked heels
While dry skin with minor cracks can usually be treated effectively at home using the well-formulated creams below, some cases do call for a podiatrist’s care. If your cracks are deep, bleeding, painful, catch on your socks in a way that causes pain, or you’re getting any redness, swelling or tenderness around your heels, you may have developed secondary problems like an infection. This means it’s best to have your cracks professionally treated and checked.
Those aged 60+ who develop severe cracks should see their podiatrist to prevent ulcers or infections developing. If you are diabetic, have impaired circulation or an autoimmune disorder, or suffer from other skin conditions, you should also see your podiatrist as you are considered to be at higher risk when it comes to your foot health. For example, diabetes and poor circulation means that any cracks that get to the healthy skin beneath will likely take longer to heal, leaving them vulnerable to infection for longer. If an infection does develop, it’ll also be harder for your body to effectively fight the infection.
If you are in good health but the creams do not heal the cracks at home, or your cracks are bleeding, make an appointment with your podiatrist.
How to heal cracked heels at home
Urea cream is our #1 choice for helping you heal your cracked heels quickly at home. Urea is already a naturally-occurring moisturising factor found in the skin, so restoring it to the skin leaves the skin rehydrated, feeling soft, healthy and moisturised. This means that the outer layer of your skin can continue to do its job – to act as a protective barrier that helps defend against nasty pathogens, injuries, and skin damage.
What makes this cracked heel cream so great?
Moisturising: Urea draws moisture to the skin and hydrates dry areas, making it a great moisturiser and exfoliator.
Strengthen skins barriers: Urea keeps the skin’s barrier strong and healthy by renewing and regenerating skin cells. A strong skin barrier can keep out potential irritants.
Minimises water loss: Urea absorbs water, but also has a high water content which reduces the amount of water lost through the skin’s epidermis or outermost layer.
Penetration of other products: Urea improves the absorbency and penetration of other skincare products because of how it acts on the skin’s barrier.
Concentrations: Urea is also available in different concentrations depending on the condition of your feet. 5-10% urea is great to keep skin moisturised. 15-30% urea is recommended for very hard and dry skin.
What does ‘dry, cracked heels’ mean?
Cracked heels describe splits in the skin around the heels that have become dry and often callused. When the skin around the heel becomes dry, it can often lose its elasticity, making it easy for it to split when pressure is put onto the heel, most often from your bodyweight while walking and standing.
How can I prevent cracked heels?
A great way to help prevent cracked heels is to keep them well hydrated by moisturising your feet daily. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and eating a nutritionally well-balanced diet will also assist in preventing dryness and cracking of the skin.
We recommend wearing comfortable, supportive footwear that doesn’t encourage the development of dry skin. This means avoiding wearing thongs or walking barefoot for prolonged periods and opting for shoes with an enclosed heel to keep the area protected. When you wear thongs and similar shoes, your heels are exposed to the most pressure and weight as your shoes aren’t helping to effectively distribute high forces from your heels.
What else can I do to relieve cracked heels?
Before applying the urea cream, soak your feet in a lukewarm foot bath with soapy water for 20 minutes. Pat your feet dry, apply your urea cream, and put on socks to help lock in the moisture.
Will a pedicure fix cracked heels?
A pedicurist may exfoliate your heels to help lessen the visible signs, however, this is very short-lived and the chances of them using a formulated urea cream as opposed to a fragrant moisturiser is slim. If you’ve had any bleeding from your cracks, having a pedicure may cause more harm than good, as surveys show that the number of salons that have adequate sterilisation and hygiene protocols are very low.
Now that you know how to achieve beautifully moisturised heels, check out some of our new orthopaedic sandals to show your feet off while promoting your foot health.
Colleen is an adjustable and comfortable sandal with a little support at the instep. It’s lightweight and will pair with any wardrobe choice making it the perfect summer staple.
Hard lines, and soft linings – meet the Como backstrap sandal. A sophisticated take on a strappy sandal, these orthotic-friendly Revere Sandals are perfect for any outfit and any occasion. Fitted with all the bells and whistles Revere Shoes are known for, we believe the Como is one of the most supportive shoes Australia has to offer.
Slide into easy and sophisticated summer style – our Samoa Lizard features sleek and understated embossed leather detailing. Fitted with adjustable Velcro straps, and an oh-so-comfortable footbed, it gives unrivalled support with undeniable style.
Keep it cool, casual, and of course comfortable! The Portofino shoes for women ooze undeniable elegance, with irresistible support – featuring a flattering ankle fastening, and secure forefoot strap for a perfect fit. Expect revere’s classic comfort technology with premium leather for a super-soft feel, with a removable insole for orthotic friendly shoes.