Cracked heels or fissured heels occur when there is a build up of hard skin or callus at the edge of the heels. Callus around the heels tends to become so hard that it splits, causing the heels to appear cracked. Sometimes the cracks are so deep that they can bleed and may be very painful. Calluses are a diffuse area of thickened skin that generally appear hard and yellow, and can cause a burning sensation and generalised discomfort.
The skin on the heel appears cracked dry and yellow in colour.
Callus formation is a normal process, however when the skin is dry and begins to split it may be an indication of other problems. Areas of callus on the foot can be a sign that there is excessive force to the area of skin involved. This may be due to tight fitting shoes, or due to abnormality of the bony structure or walking pattern.
There may be very dry skin made worse by particular conditions such as athlete’s foot eczema or psoriasis.
Wearing shoes without any backs such as flip flops or sandals can allow the skin around the heels to spread which increases likelihood of splits in the skin, especially when there is already a build up of callus or dry skin.
Reducing the overlying callus will decrease the depth of the splits and allow better penetration of moisturisers. Your podiatrists will advise on routine maintenance and further follow up appointments to assess the condition.