4 Things Diabetics Need To Know About Cracked Heels

Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, are a serious problem for diabetics. Here are four things you need to know about this condition.

What causes cracked heels?

Many different factors can lead to cracked heels. Poorly-fitting shoes that put pressure on your heels can lead to calluses, which later crack or split. Spending a lot of time standing on hard floors can also cause this condition.

Diabetes can also lead to skin changes that make you more susceptible to cracked heels. Diabetes can damage the nerves that control oil and moisture production in your feet which leads to dry skin in the area.

Why are cracked heels serious?

For non-diabetics, cracked heels are just an unsightly nuisance, but for diabetics, they're more serious. This is because of the many effects that diabetes has on your feet.

Diabetes damages the nerves in your feet which makes it harder for you to feel pain. This means that you may not feel pain when your heels crack, and if they become infected, you may not feel that, either.

Diabetes also impairs the circulation in your feet. Good blood flow is essential for healing, and if you don't have good circulation in your feet, your cracked heels may not heal.

Cracked heels that don't heal may become ulcers. Ulcers are open sores that heal slowly and may become infected. These ulcers can lead to even worse complications, like foot amputations. It seems unbelievable that a bit of cracked skin on your heel could lead to amputation, but even minor foot problems can become serious for diabetics. Fortunately, you can avoid these complications by seeking prompt treatment for your cracked heels.

How are cracked heels treated?

Your podiatrist will carefully remove the callus on your heel and then apply a moisturizing cream to the area. If the cracks are severe, your podiatrist may bandage the area to hold the cracks together while they heal.

Can you prevent cracked heels?

You can prevent cracked heels by wearing shoes that fit properly and don't put pressure or friction on your heels. Choose shoes that provide support and cushioning for your heel instead of open-backed shoes like clogs or sandals. Your podiatrist can recommend appropriate shoes if you aren't sure what you need.

Applying moisturizer to your heels can also help to keep the skin smooth and free of cracks, though make sure to never put the cream between your toes, as this can lead to infections.

If you are diabetic and have cracked skin on your heels, see a podiatrist right away.