Dry Skin/ Fissures

Definition

A fissure is a crack, or split in the skin and can be commonly found on the heel of the foot.

These cracks can be a chronic problem and be very painful. They can also cause further problems for people with underlying medical conditions for example, poor circulation or diabetes.

Causes

  • Dry Skin- rough, flaky skin. Can be a result of walking barefoot as this removes natural oils. Long periods in the sun can also dry out the feet. Aging can cause dry skin due to losss of moisture as we get older.
  • Moist Skin- Due to excessive sweat, not drying feet properly, Shoes without socks, or socks that don't breathe well. Moist skin is also a risk factor for bacterial or fungal infections. 
  • Genetics
  • Diuretics (water tablets)
  • Decreased sweat
  • Backless Shoes
  • Medical conditions- for example, Eczema, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Downs Syndrome, Kidney problems, Lymphoma, Malnutrition, venous stasis
  • Athletes Foot

Symptoms

  • Cracked skin on the heel.
  • Maybe painful or uncomfortable

Treatment

Heel fissures may go on their own if properly treated and moisturised. Cracks in the skin are at risk of infection so need to be properly looked at.


Self Care:


Dry Skin-

  •  Moisturise
  • Never walk barefoot
  • Avoid open shoes
  • Use foot file for callus

Moist Skin-

  • Ensure feet are dried properly
  • Do not apply cream between the toes
  • Wear cotton socks not nylon
  • Use Antifungal powders in socks and shoes


Check feet daily for signs of redness, swelling and/or heat as these are signs of infection

When to see a Podiatrist

If the fissures become unmanageable and/or painful seek help from an HCPC registered Podiatrist for treatment and advice.


What can a Podiatrist do:


  • Reduce any hard skin
  • Dress any effected areas
  • Suggest or prescribe antifungal or antibiotics as required
  • Provide footwear advice
  • Orthotic precription