Early stages of fissures on the feet, particularly the heel, involve the splitting of the skin to produce unsightly cracks. If heel cracks remain untreated, the cracks can progress into fissures. Cracks only effect the upper layer of the skin called the epidermis, while fissures begin to crack deeper into the skin, just below the epidermis into the dermis. Dry skin is the reason most people assume they have cracking heels, but increased weight, diabetes, neuropathy, poor circulation and poor nutrition can also cause poor foot health. Symptoms of heel cracks and fissures vary from mild to severe.
- Dry, itchy heels
- Hard skin on the heels
- Difficulties standing or walking
- Bleeding or discharge from cracks
With proper treatment, heel cracking will not evolve into fissures. Moisturizing the feet two times a day will heal the cracks in most cases. Exercise will improve poor circulation to the feet that can help heal or prevent cracks from reappearing again. If cracks or deep fissures are persistent, a diet lacking proper nutrients may be the culprit. Your podiatrist can identify the cause of the cracks/fissures and provide you with an appropriate treatment plan.