cracked bottom of foot

If the bottom of your foot is dry and cracked, you want pain relief. But, first, you need to know what's causing the problem. And that's what we'll help you figure out today. 

Now, there are two likely reasons that you get dry and cracked feet. And, while your local podiatrist can treat both, the treatment options are different. So you need to know what's causing your problem, to get the right solution. Let's take a closer look! 

Environmental Causes of Dry, Cracked Feet

The first reason your feet may crack on the bottom is dry skin. Normally, your feet should be smooth; a cracked bottom of foot is not a healthy situation. But, these cracks do happen. Especially if they dry out because of your environment. Even without environmental contributions, your feet can also dry out if you forget to moisturize them. Or if you have certain conditions or take medications that cause skin dryness.

Here in Houston, we have to worry about dry skin for much of the year. In the summer, or whenever it's hot, you're more likely to wear open shoes or sandals. And that's a big problem for your feet. Particularly the skin on the bottom of your feet.

You see, without the protection of closed shoes, dust and dirt can reach your skin. That can make your skin dry. And, once your skin dries out, it's more likely to crack on the bottom. (Although the most vulnerable area is your heel, where the skin is thin and delicate. It's also where shoes can rub against your skin most often, making matters worse.)

We also need to worry about dry skin in our "winter." Because even a small dip in temperature sends Houstonians running for the heat. And dry heat sucks the moisture out of the skin on your feet. In turn, this leads to the same type of problems we see in the summer. And the same cracked bottom of foot that sent you right here to this post, seeking relief. 

Proper Moisturizing to Prevent Cracks

If dry skin is your problem, there's good new. Moisture is the easy solution to your woes! In fact, we can often treat cracked heels with an excellent moisturizing cream and nothing else. But to get the best results, you'll need to be a supermarket sleuth. And not just reach for the first product you see on sale. 

You see, moisturizers come in two main categories: there are lotions and there are creams. Now, lotions have a high water content, and a thin consistency. As such, they are fine for every day hydration. But if your skin is already cracking, you'll need something stronger. And that's when creams come into play.

A moisturizing cream is thicker than a lotion. And that means it will do a better job at re-hydrating your dry skin. It can also help lock in moisture to your feet. In that way, you may heal existing damage to your foot skin. Plus, you can help prevent your skin from cracking again later on.

Now, fortunately, our feet give us warning signs when they're starting to dry out. Before the bottom of your feet or heel crack, you may notice changes in the way your skin looks or feels. It may turn rough or thicken. 

Have you noticed these changes? This is the perfect time to apply a moisturizing cream. Because, if the transformation worsens, the skin may crack or even bleed. And, at that point, you're at higher risk for a foot infection. Which means your treatment will go beyond moisturizing.

Need help finding the right product? I'm a big fan of Eucerin or Cetpahil creams. But your podiatrist in Houston, Dr. Andrew Schneider can also recommend or prescribe a different product.

Athlete's Foot and Cracked Bottom of Foot Applying cream to a dry heel

The other reason for dry and cracked feet is because of a fungal infection, such as athlete's foot. Usually, this infection is uncomfortable; it often causes itching and burning. But when the only symptom is cracked skin, it's easy to misdiagnose the problem. But if your skin is very dry, and you're moisturizing, it could be Athlete's foot. Which means moisturizing won't work. So, in that case, we'll combine moisturizing cream with an antifungal medication. With this powerful combo, we can get rid of your fungal infection. And we can heal the dry, cracked skin on the bottom of your feet. So that, in the future, those openings will disappear. Meaning invading fungus can't make it's way in and cause re-infections.

Remember, seek immediate treatment if you notice cracks on the bottom of your feet. Because, if we don't start the right treatment for your dry, cracked heels, things will get worse. That means your cracks get deeper and can even bleed.

When that happens, it will be painful for everyone. But if you have diabetes it's not just painful. It's actually dangerous! That's because the cracks can become infected and difficult to heal. In fact, a diabetic with cracked heels could get an ulcer. (This is a hard to heal infection, that can increase your risk of amputation. In other words, it's a big deal and a big problem.)

Want to avoid major issues? Treating cracks in your heel early, before they become problematic. That will ensure that your feet stay healthy, and remove the risk of infection.

And how can you know the exact cause of your dry, cracked feet? The best way to figure out your issue is to see your podiatrist right away. But here's another helpful tip.

If you've been using a moisturizing cream with poor results, your problem probably isn't environmental. And, since that means it could be fungal, you can't address the problem at home. So, do you know what that means? It's time to visit Tanglewood Foot Specialists. After a comprehensive foot exam, I can recommend the best treatment for your painful cracked heels. And, at that time, I'll assess your infection and see if you need an antifungal medicine as well.

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