Cracks on the heels are a very unpleasant phenomenon; cracks must be treated as soon as they feel discomfort. If cracks begin to grow, then this entails great discomfort, but besides this, the risk of infection with fungi and bacteria becomes several times greater, after which a person gets an infection and suppuration of the foot.
Signs of cracks in the foot.
- Severe itching
- Strong unpleasant odor
- Pain while walking
- Burning sensation.
From what cracks appear.
- In our century, everyone has become accustomed to the fact that water is highly chlorinated, but no one thinks that it is it that can cause many diseases, including contributing to the appearance of cracks in the legs.
- If a person does not follow the rules of personal hygiene.
- Frequent walking with bare feet.
- Wearing tight shoes that bind the foot completely when walking.
- Frequent use of chemistry with a high alkali content.
- Lack of vitamins in the body.
- Fatigue of the legs.
Of course, you can try to treat small cracks in your legs at home, but if they grow, it will be better to consult a doctor who will prescribe the correct treatment, especially if the cracks are provoked by diseases.
The first attempts to deal with cracks.
- As soon as the cracks become noticeable, it is necessary to apply the first attempts to get rid of them, the most common treatment is petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly acts as a moisturizer for the skin of the feet and thus heals all wounds. But before you apply it, you need to prepare your legs for the procedure. First of all, the legs are steamed, and after that, petroleum jelly is applied to the heels, glue the crack with a plaster and leave it overnight.
- Another way to treat cracked feet is with olive oil. This procedure is not so cheap, so it should only be done if possible. The oil must be used daily, every time after water procedures. This method is the most popular.
- Folk method: grated apple with onions. For this method, it is necessary to grate a fresh apple and onion (onion) on a grater, then prepare a special fabric on which the resulting gruel will be laid out and rewind the heel with it. Fix all this once again with a bandage. Also, if there are no apples at home, you can use a cabbage leaf, which must be crumpled a little so that it releases juice, such a compress must be applied to the leg and left overnight.
Types of cracks in the heels
The following types of cracks in the heels can be distinguished:
- superficial and deep;
- dry (caused by excessive dryness of the skin) and moist (caused by excessively damp skin – this phenomenon is called maceration);
- uninfected and infected;
- resulting from:
- endogenous causes (dermatological diseases, hormonal disorders, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract; associated with a lack of vitamins, microelements);
- external factors.
Possible causes of cracked heels
The most common causes of cracked heels include conditions associated with local physical effects on the skin of the foot: exposure to the sun, wind and cold, temperature changes, chlorinated water, dry air, poor hygiene, excessive care (frequent peeling – removal of the upper stratum corneum), the use of alkaline soap, improperly selected shoes.
However, in some cases, we can talk about general conditions affecting the skin of the heels: smoking and alcohol abuse, starvation, unbalanced diets, a small amount of fluid you drink, congenital skin features (dryness, sensitivity), pregnancy, menopause, aging of the body.
Pathologies that provoke the appearance of cracks on the heels include fungal infections, dermatological diseases (psoriasis, ichthyosis), diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, helminthiasis, a state of deficiency of vitamins and microelements (iron deficiency anemia, hypovitaminosis), hormonal disorders (diseases of the thyroid gland, sugar diabetes), as well as diseases leading to impaired trophic (nutrition) of the lower extremities (impaired innervation and blood supply).
As a result of the negative impact of the environment (sun, wind, etc.), the skin loses its elasticity, becomes thinner, and the function of the sebaceous and sweat glands decreases. As a result, growths of thick, rough, dry skin appear on the heels. Against the background of increased pressure on the foot (prolonged standing, wearing tight shoes, obesity), cracks may appear. Non-compliance with the drinking regime and lack of vitamins aggravates the problem.
Cracked skin is not only an aesthetic problem, over time it can cause pain when walking, but cracks can also bleed, and become infected. Lack of hygiene and the presence of concomitant diseases complicate the problem.
An insufficient level of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) leads to a decrease in metabolism in the body, blood supply to tissues, the function of sweat and sebaceous glands. The dry and rough skin of the feet becomes prone to excessive keratinization and cracking.
Psoriasis is a chronic systemic disease with damage to the skin, nails, joints. It is characterized by the appearance of small red spots with scales (psoriatic plaques), towering above the skin, which tend to increase, merge, and thicken. Thick and hardened skin of the feet itches and cracks. Since psoriasis of the feet is associated with a high risk of trauma to the elements of the rash, they often become infected.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic endocrine disease, which is based on metabolic disorders due to insulin deficiency and the resulting high blood glucose levels. The long course of the disease leads to damage to the nerves and blood vessels with impaired innervation and blood supply to tissues. With improper care of the feet, sores and cracks form on their surface, and it takes longer for patients with diabetes to heal.
Foot fungus can be another cause of cracked heels. The disease is characterized by redness, itching, peeling and thickening of the skin, the appearance of cracks of various depths and sizes. An unpleasant odor may be present. According to the picture of the disease and the patient’s complaints, the doctor assumes a fungal infection of the feet, but to confirm the diagnosis, a laboratory test is necessary for the presence of the pathogen in the affected area of the skin.
Keratoderma is a group of skin diseases characterized by a violation of the keratinization process. With this disease, keratosis of the palms and soles is observed. Keratoderma can be diffuse (continuous lesion of the skin of the palms and feet) and focal (the lesion is located in the form of islands, linearly, pointwise).
In children with Unna-Tost keratoderma (congenital ichthyosis of the palms and soles), excessive keratinization of the skin is observed at 1-2 years of age. The disease begins with a slight thickening of the skin of the palms and soles. Horny layers are smooth, yellowish. Deep cracks can form.
Acquired ichthyosis develops at a later age, is manifested by dryness and roughness of the skin with a large number of scales. The skin is affected not only on the trunk and limbs but also on the palms and soles. Acquired ichthyosis is a sign of other diseases (hypovitaminosis A, malignant neoplasms of internal organs, fungal mycosis, etc.).
Which doctor should i contact for cracked heels?
If changing tight shoes, carrying out hygiene procedures do not help to get rid of cracked feet, you should consult a podiatrist (a doctor who diagnoses and treats foot diseases).
To exclude diseases that provoke the occurrence of cracked feet, you may need to consult a general practitioner, endocrinologist, gastroenterologist, dermatologist or rheumatologist. Diagnostics and examinations with cracks on the heels To determine the causes of cracks on the heels, the doctor can prescribe a set of laboratory and instrumental diagnostic methods.