01 October 2010

A common foot problem

Cracked heels? Do you have this problem? This is a large problem for many people and not just those with diabetes.

Men, don't think this is a problem for women only! Many men can develop this problem as well. Granted, many of the websites dealing with cracked heels are written for women; however, men that wear a lot of sandals and shoes without good heel and sole support do develop heel fissures. Read more to see how well the facts fit you.

Cracked heels can give off an odor and become infected. This foot problem is started by dry skin. If the condition continues and the dry skin becomes thicker in the heel area it is then termed a callus. When the calluses are thick and become cracked, the pain can be very intense. If not taken care of promptly and properly, it can become infected.

Cracks or fissures are often caused by increased pressures in the heel area that are caused by the way you walk, standing for long periods, being overweight, wearing sandals, slippers, or loose fitting loafers. Other factors include skin problems of psoriasis and eczema, dry skin caused by diabetes or thyroid diseases, age, certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and poor hygiene. Medical conditions also can create problems, such as lower leg surgical procedures, improperly aligned metatarsal bones, heel spurs, and either high arched or flat feet.

Some of the symptoms of cracked heels are pain when walking, yellow or dark colored skin on the heel, itching feet, peeling or cracking skin, and heels that have flaky or red patches.

It is advisable to see a podiatrist as soon as something is noticed. If you have diabetes, schedule a semiannual appointment or more often to catch foot problems early. The doctor may give you a regimen to follow for reducing the dry skin and a prescription for moisturizers.

Things that can be done at home include soaking the feet and using files to remove the soften skin. There are also callus removers and pumice stones to reduce the dry skin of the calluses.

Stop wearing poor fitting sandals, slippers, and shoes with thin soles. If you don't own a pair of shoes that fit properly and have a good weight absorbing sole, consider purchasing one or two pairs. Take care of your feet with a large dose of TLC (tender loving care).

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