Women who are accustomed to walking barefoot are more likely to experience dryness and cracks in the skin of the heels in the summer.. Cracked heels are also more likely in those who wear flip flops, sandals and / or sandals that leave their feet almost bare.
Cracked heels in many cases are nothing more than an aesthetic problem. But sometimes they turn into a painful situation, with cracks that reach the deeper layers of the skin, they bleed and can become infected.
They may also not be a simple consequence of dry skin, but an indication of systemic or skin diseases.
«As in winter, closed shoes can cause fungus on the skin of the feet and toenails, due to the moisture created inside them, so in summer the open shoes cause dryness in the soles and heels», explains o dermatologist-venereologist Christos Stamou. «In such a case, the skin gradually loses its elasticity and shows cracks. In addition, its color darkens, taking on a yellowish tinge. The causes can be seemingly simple, but this is not always the case».
The role of dehydration and shoes
Dehydration is the most common cause of cracked heels. The summer heat makes us more vulnerable to it, if we do not consume sufficient amounts of fluids.
The dry environment (e.g. from air conditioners) also contributes to the appearance of dryness on the skin of the heels, as well as the whole body.
According to the above, The shoes we wear also play an important role in the cracked heels. As clarified by Mr.. Στάμου, when walking the heels support the entire weight of the body. There is a fat pad under the heel bone to absorb the vibrations. When excessive pressure is applied to the heel, without foot limb support, this fat recedes to the side.
To enable the body to respond, increases its protection, hardening of the skin in the areas that receive the highest pressure. The thickness of the hard skin, depends on the amount of pressure the heel has undergone.
As hard skin forms, dries and is no longer elastic. As long as the pressure continues, the skin begins to form cracks. This is how cracked heels are created.
Closed shoes support the feet well, while on the contrary the sandals and the sandals are exposed. So, the heel fat pad is laterally retracted and the risk of cracks increases. This also explains why cracked heels are more common in women than,what to men.
High risk groups
The people who are overweight is more prone to cracked heels, due to the increased pressure their heels receive and the receding fat.
Another factor that may increase the risk is long standing on hard ground. This risk can be kept to a minimum by using footwear, lined with heels and soles to provide extra support. instead, shoes with thin soles can aggravate the problem.
Οι σκασμένες φτέρνες είναι επίσης συχνό πρόβλημα στους πάσχοντες από ορισμένες δερματοπάθειες. THE atopic dermatitis, e.g., can make the skin drier and the heels more sensitive to cracks. It has the same effects psoriasis, which causes dry, scaly and flaky skin on various parts of the body. These include the soles of the feet
Another skin condition that makes cracked heels more common is palmate cornea. It is a disorder that causes thickening of the skin on the palms and soles and a predisposition to the formation of cracks..
Respectively, children with juvenile plantar fasciitis they are also likely to have cracked heels. This condition is characterized by high levels of moisture in the skin of the area, which dries quickly. This repetitive process leads to cracks.
Diabetes and thyroid
The painful, Cracked heels can also be the first sign of diabetes or some thyroid disease.
Diabetes mellitus is characterized by abnormally elevated blood sugar levels. It can also cause the sweat glands to malfunction. Irregularly elevated blood sugar can lead to peripheral neuropathy. This is damage to the nerves of the legs, which restricts blood flow and circulation. Peripheral neuropathy increases the risk of dry heels and cracked heels.
That's why diabetics need to be doubly careful, in order to avoid the formation of an ulcer on the heels.
Cracked heels can also be due to thyroid dysfunction, which causes dryness and eventually cracks.
What to do
«Those who have cracked heels and even more so those who have deep cracks and are at risk of infection should dedicate a little time daily to treat this afflicted area of their feet.», emphasizes Mr.. Στάμου. In particular, it recommends the following:
- Take a 10-minute foot bath daily
- Use pumice stone after foot bath to remove dead cells and reduce the thickness of the stratum corneum
- Moisturize your feet daily with fatty ointments, after shower and foot bath. Ointments are good to contain ingredients that help remove dead skin and restore its moisture
«For a complete treatment, the use of shoes with a thin sole that does not absorb vibrations should be avoided., standing and walking barefoot», concludes Dr. Stamou.