Cracked Heels: How They Happen
Cracks in the heels are generally caused by insufficient moisture. These cracks can become sore and may even bleed. Seriously dry feet can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- Cold winter weather
- Dehydration, or not drinking enough water
- Not moisturizing your feet
- Taking very hot baths or showers
- Soaking in a hot bath for too long or too frequently
- Using harsh, drying soaps on your feet
- Scrubbing feet dry
- Having diabetes
- When the feet become too dry, heel fissures can develop quite easily. “It’s kind of like if you put plaster on a balloon and let it harden and blow up the balloon, the balloon will expand the plaster and crack.As the skin cracks, it may begin to bleed. These deep heel fissures can allow bacteria and viruses to enter the body, leading to infection and illness.
Cracked Heels: Risk Factors
The two biggest risk factors for cracked heels are diabetes and obesity, notes Mauser. Diabetics are likely to experience cracked heels because damage to nerves in the feet from uncontrolled blood sugars can cause dry skin. People with diabetes are even more likely to sustain an infection from cracked heels than non-diabetics. If you are diabetic, it is important to examine your feet frequently for signs of cracks or infection. Obesity increases your chances of having cracked heels because there is even more weight on the heel pad, which causes it to expand out further. Dry skin is unable to handle the added pressure and cracks.