Jinja: Heel cracks, colloquially referred to as “ekyakya,” can signal an underlying medical concern that demands attention for certain individuals. These painful splits or fissures in the skin’s heels are primarily caused by dryness and insufficient moisture, rendering the skin brittle and susceptible to cracking.
Apart from the visibly cracked and dry skin on the heels, common symptoms of heel cracks, as outlined by ThefeetPeople.com, encompass pain, particularly while walking or standing, redness, inflammation, and in severe instances, bleeding. Infection might introduce warmth, swelling, itchiness, and discomfort in the affected area.
Dr. Blair Kizza of Aga Khan University Hospital highlights that extended foot washing and use of harsh soaps can contribute to skin dryness, rendering it more prone to cracking. Dry environmental conditions, lack of skin moisture, and dry skin itself all contribute to heel fissures. Prolonged standing or obesity can amplify pressure on the heels, leading to skin cracking. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis impair the skin’s barrier, increasing the likelihood of fissures.
As Dr. Blair indicates, various factors, including age, can elevate the risk of heel cracks due to diminishing skin suppleness and moisture with age. Individuals with diabetes, characterized by reduced skin moisture and blood flow, are more susceptible to cracks and slower healing. Obesity and excess weight can exert strain on heels, causing cracks. Dry climates can exacerbate dry skin problems.
Preventing heel cracks, according to Dr. Blair, involves simple foot hygiene practices such as daily moisturization, focusing on the heels. Adequate hydration is crucial to maintain overall skin moisture. Wearing supportive shoes with cushioned insoles can alleviate heel pressure. If your job necessitates prolonged standing, regular breaks are advised.
Effective treatment, Dr. Blair notes, entails a comprehensive approach, including frequent application of thick moisturizers with emollient bases, particularly post-bathing. To prevent excessive buildup, dry, dead skin can be removed using a pumice stone or foot file. Gentle, moisturizing soap should be used for foot washing. Properly fitting, supportive footwear minimizes friction and pressure. Soaking feet in lukewarm, soapy water can soften skin before exfoliation. In severe cases, debridement, use of medicinal lotions containing urea or lactic acid, or skin glue application might be recommended.
Considering individual medical conditions is vital in cracked heel treatment, especially for patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Dr. Blair underscores the need for meticulous medical history review and tailored treatment. Regular follow-ups, thorough education on foot hygiene, and addressing concerns are essential.
He encourages patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle, encompassing hydration, balanced diet, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol. Individualized treatment, tailored to unique needs, is vital. Consultation is necessary if heel cracks persist or exhibit signs of infection for accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment.