05 Feb Summer skin – callus and cracked heels
Why do my heels split open in the summer months?
In warm weather and especially around Glen Iris, sandals, wedges and high heels are the trend, and thongs are worn to the beach or pool. These forms of open footwear worn in the summer months cause the skin on your feet to dry out more quickly. Comparing to the cooler months when shoes and socks are worn, your feet aren’t as prone to drying out, as they retain their natural moisture. Although the skin around your heels seems tough, it is actually elastic in nature and requires expanding when your body weight is applied during standing and walking. When the skin is continuously dry and dehydrated it cannot expand normally. This leads to hard skin formation, ‘callus’ as a form of protection from abnormal load, and then cracking and tearing of the skin. The fancy term for these cracks is ‘fissures’. Sometimes the fissures get so deep, that they reveal the underlying raw and sensitive skin. This can be very painful!
How can I fix them?
Cracked heels can quite easily be managed by removing the surrounding callus using a specific debriding technique with a scalpel blade. Only a fully qualified podiatrist can do this. Once the callus has been reduced an emollient or heel balm is massaged into the heels. This is important for the rehydration phase. Depending on the severity of the cracks, two or three appointments in 2-4 weekly intervals are usually recommended. After the initial appointment, our Glen Iris podiatrist will usually set some self-care instructions:
- Weekly exfoliation or filing to decrease the hard skin around the heels.
- Nightly emollient application, and sock wear to protect your floors at home!
It is important to continue the self-care tips set by your podiatrist, especially over the warmer months, in order to prevent dryness and the cracks from reappearing.
If you have any questions about this topic or would like to book an appointment with our podiatrist in Glen Iris, please contact the clinic on (03) 88408066 or book online