How to Treat your Dry, Cracked Heels with Respect and Love this Summer!

Causes of Dry, Cracked Heels, University Foot and Ankle Institute

The older you get, the more likely you will suffer from dry, cracking heels.

Are your heels indistinguishable from a Google image search of Nevada’s Death Valley? Have scientists at NASA referenced pictures of your feet in a study of the topography of Mars? If you looked closely enough, could you almost make out a tiny Moses leading the Hebrews to the Promised Land?

If so, your heels are dry and cracked. The soles of healthy feet are typically thick, supple, and strong to protect you from the stresses of walking around on them all day, stepping on surfaces of uneven textures and temperatures. But when you’ve been less-than-diligent about keeping them healthy, your feet – particularly your heels – can dry out, looking ashy and cracked.

Cracked heels can hurt to walk on, and the skin can break and bleed more easily than healthy heels. Open wounds on your feet can lead to infection. Let’s face it – it’s not like your grubby, sweaty sneakers are doing your skin any favors.

What causes dry heels?

Cracked heels are the result of years of neglect and wear on the bottoms of your feet. The pressure and friction of your everyday activities causes dry skin to build up calluses on the feet, which eventually split, causing deep, visible cracks.

The older you get, the more likely you will suffer from dry, cracking heels. Dry heels are also likely to worsen in the summer time, so now is the perfect time to start paying closer attention to the condition of your feet.

Avoiding these things will help keep your heels healthy:

  • Harsh soaps. Choose a gel or moisturizing soap instead.
  • Hot, excessively long showers. Hot water is notorious for drying out your skin. Your feet often get the worst of it since they soak in the steaming, soapy water before it goes down the drain.
  • It’s alright to wear sandals once in a while – heck, it’s better than no shoes at all! But wearing them too frequently exposes your feet to the elements, causing them to dry out.

How to heal your heels

Exfoliate Your Feet, University Foot and Ankle Institute

Gently exfoliate the heel with a pumice stone.

Much like caring for your car or your home, a little routine maintenance goes a long way. Moisturize your feet daily, especially after showering and before putting on your socks and shoes. Try applying petroleum jelly to your feet before going to bed. Put a sock on to lock in the moisture while you’re sleeping.

Wear clean socks and shoes that fit every day. Ditch the fancy wool or synthetic materials. Cotton socks do the best job at absorbing moisture and allowing your skin to breathe.

You may gently exfoliate the skin with a pumice stone, but avoid scrubbing the area rigorously. You’re not sandpapering the kitchen cabinets, Ty Pennington. This can cause further damage to your dried heels.

Keeping your heels healthy and moisturized will help you keep comfortable and stay active. Absent of foot pain, your healthy heels can navigate a better walking pattern and can better sustain any foot treatments that you may need. Your feet and your podiatrist will thank you!

Dr. Jason Tanaka

Dr. Jason Tanaka

Jason Tanaka is a doctor of physical therapy based at our Santa Monica office. His studies began at the University of Southern California, where he competed on the swim team and consistently placed in the top 10 in the NCAA. Jason’s next academic stop was at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, where he earned his doctorate.

Dr. Tanaka specializes in a therapeutic technique for Plantar Fasciitis and other conditions known as manual scraping. Manual scraping has helped Dr. Tanaka effectively treat painful conditions in half as many sessions as traditional therapeutic techniques.

A self-described workaholic, Dr. Tanaka also works weekends at So. Cal. Hospital in Culver City doing acute physical therapy. He currently lives in West Hollywood with his fiancée, their dog, and two cats.
Dr. Jason Tanaka

Latest posts by Dr. Jason Tanaka (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

3 × one =

  • Yelp
    Visiting UFAI was definitely a low point of my trip to LA, but only because my buddy managed to get a stress fracture in her foot while we were long boarding, and it kinda ruined our plans.  We ended up looking some ...
    Shanley W.
  • Yelp
    Right after my first visit with Dr, Briskin was over I knew I found the right doctor. My problem was approached with caution, care and expertise treatment. The treatment was important, but the doctor's mannerism is al...
    Kirk W.
  • Yelp
    Dr. Brayton Campbell is a very knowledgeable podiatrist.  It is obvious he cares about his patients to make sure we receive the right care.  I am very glad I have him as my podiatrist!
    Carole K.
  • Yelp
    I love how Dr. Franson involves his patients in coming up with a treatment plan. I went to him years ago, and when I recently hurt my foot, it was a no brainer that I would go back to him. But the review I really wan...
    Jackie M.
  • Yelp
    I had tendon surgery about 2 years ago at Kaiser and it was the worst experience of my life...Dr. Baravarian is a breath of fresh air! Finally!  A doctor who cares and really seems to care about your recovery! His ent...
    Mz P.
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. Baravarian and the Santa Monica office and staff are helping me stride ahead!
    Edward T.
  • CustomerSure
    I was impressed and happy to know I could see the doctor the same day I needed! Very efficient and professional! I've already recommended UFAI to several family and friends for their future reference.
    Ani M.
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. Campbell and staff are very helpful, welcoming, and patient!
    Amanda S.
  • Yelp
    Like many, my husband is a classic car buff. I call it classic car nuts! Well one nice day we're going through some car stuff in the garage and BAM!! A steel car rim falls on my foot. Yes, the pain was excruciating! I...
    Irma G.
  • Yelp
    Quick, painless, fantastic service.
    Mike G.
Same day appointments now available!
or call us:
  • University Foot & Ankle, a Preferred Provider to:
  • UCLA Health System - UCLA Medical Group
  • MPTF - Member Industry Health Network
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • ATP - Association of Tennis Professionals
  • And consulting physicians for:
  • C&S - Cedars-Sinai
  • Saint John's Health Center