How to prevent cracked heels

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Your footwear matters. If you’re prone to cracked heels, try to find shoes that fit properly and support your heels. Whenever possible, wear shoes with a sturdy, wide heel that supports and cushions your heels.

Avoid

  • flip-flops and sandals, which can increase the risk of your feet drying out
  • open-back shoes, which generally don’t provide enough heel support
  • shoes with a tall, skinny heel, which can cause your heel to expand sideways
  • shoes that are too tight

Other ways to prevent cracked heels:

  • Avoid standing in one position or sitting with your legs crossed for too long.
  • Slather on thick foot cream at night and then cover your feet with socks to lock in moisture.
  • Inspect your feet daily, especially if you have diabetes or another condition that causes dry skin.
  • Wear custom shoe inserts (orthotics) to cushion your heel and even out weight distribution.
  • Wear good quality or clinically-tested padded socks.
  • Use silicon heel cups to keep the heel moisturized and help prevent the heel pad from expanding.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Use a pumice stone after showering a few times a week to help prevent thickening skin. But avoid removing calluses yourself if you have diabetes or neuropathy. You may inadvertently create a wound and increase your risk of infection.

Takeaway

In many cases, cracked heels aren’t a cause for concern. You may be able to relieve the condition with over-the-counter or home remedies. See a doctor if you have a severe case of cracked heels or an underlying medical condition such as diabetes. It’s important to see a doctor prevent potentially serious complications.

Although your skin may show signs of improvement after initial treatment, it may take several days or weeks for the cracks to heal. During and after this time, wear shoes that fit properly and practice proper foot care to help prevent new heel cracks.

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