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Martin Foot & Ankle

Keep Them Summer Smooth: Prevent Cracking Heels

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Floating on a lake is a serene way to spend a summer afternoon. Places like the William H. Kain County Park just south of York is a nice place to float around in a canoe or kayak. You can dip your feet in the water and enjoy its cool smoothness. There are plenty of people who are reluctant to remove their shoes even for something like this, no matter how refreshing it may feel. Their cracking heels are two uncomfortable and embarrassing for them. If you can relate, don’t worry—you can easily heal and smooth out heel fissures.

Cracking heels and splits in the skin develop when the feet are too dry. Dried out, thickened skin doesn’t stretch or flex under pressure. Instead, it splits. This is pretty common on your heels when you develop callus build-up. Calluses are thickened patches of dead skin that are meant to protect your lower limbs from friction and pressure. Unfortunately, they’re also drier and stiffer than the rest of your skin, making them prone to cracks.

Heel fissures aren’t inevitable, though. A little skin care can help you keep your feet smooth and beautiful, whether it’s summer sandal-and-kayak season or not. Here are a few ways you can take care of your skin:

  • Avoid dry soaps – Non-moisturizing soaps strip the natural oils from your skin without replacing them with moisturizer, leaving you dry, so avoid them.
  • Moisturize regularly – Apply lotions or ointments to your feet after you’ve washed them.
  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Your internal moisture affects your skin, too.
  • Treat your calluses – Soak and scrub your heel calluses to soften and thin them. This makes your skin less likely to crack.
  • Wear good shoes – Wear shoes that protect your heels but allow your feet to breath. Contrary to what many people think, excess foot sweat contributes to dry skin.
Eliminating your calluses is another important step. The more you allow those to build up on your feet, the higher your risk for cracked heels. If you’re struggling to improve your heel fissures no matter what you do for them, let us know at Martin Foot and Ankle. We’ll help you find other ways to smooth out your skin. Use our website or call (717) 757-3537 to make an appointment at our Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz or York office locations.
Dr. Keith F. Tyson
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