Numerous articles describe home remedies for cracked feet that anyone can attempt, such as pumice stone treatment, creams, and soaking them in water every morning and night. And while these home remedies may be effective for moderate cracked heel issues or cracked heels that are just beginning to develop, they are ineffective for cracked heels that have been present for years.
In these circumstances, you should avoid using a pumice stone at home and instead seek the assistance of a podiatrist to eliminate the cracks on your heels.
So, how precisely do podiatrists remove cracked heels? The podiatry experience begins with an examination in which the podiatrist discusses the cracked heel issue with the patient to gain a thorough understanding of what may be causing the development of cracked heels. This enables them to recommend the finest post-treatment care and recommendations to maintain foot health and allow optimal recovery.
Depending on the degree of the cracked heels, the callus treatment process might last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. It entails scraping the hard skin with a metal scalpel and then scraping away the rest with a sander.
THE PROCESS OF REMOVING CRACKED HEELS WITH A PODIATRIST
The patient experience of having cracked heels removed by a podiatrist begins with an initial evaluation. Next, the podiatrist will determine which aspects of your lifestyle are responsible for developing cracked heels. This will allow them to provide you with the best aftercare therapy and advice beyond cracked heel removal, preventing the growth of cracks on your heels from recurring.
After the evaluation, you will be requested to sit or lie in the treatment room. Depending on the clinic, the patient may be required to wear a cotton face mask and a covering over their clothes. Shoes and socks should be removed before the podiatrist removes the first layers of hard or dead skin from the bottom of the foot with a metal knife.
This is called debridement or removing thick and hard skin from the feet. You mustn’t attempt any debridement at home using household equipment such as blades or scissors since you risk destroying good skin, which could result in severe discomfort and infection.
The debridement procedure might take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the hard skin issue on your foot. First, the podiatrist may use a sander to smooth out any dry cracks. Next, the sander is softly pressed against the dry skin, scraping away at the dry fissures and converting them to dust (which is why patients are recommended to wear mouth masks).
Patients may experience sensation in their feet again after an hour or hour and a half of treatment. However, there should be no pain felt during the initial debridement and scraping of dry skin since dry skin lacks nerves and pain receptors; it is dead skin.
Some podiatry clinics will complete the heel fissures removal process here, with a discussion on daily aftercare advice and recommendations on which creams the patient should use. However, some podiatrists may provide additional services following the removal therapy to best care for the dry skin issue.
Patients may be given an additional massage and exfoliating scrub before receiving a hot wax treatment to enhance healing and blood flow to the foot. This therapy entails covering the cracks in a specific warm wax that accelerate the skin’s natural healing process.
If the patient’s skin cracks are found to be infected after debridement and scraping, the podiatrist will be necessary to dress the wound to begin the infection’s healing process. To maximize healing, strapping and padding or skin glue will be applied to the feet for additional dry cracked healing assistance. A final evaluation of the patient’s footwear and the need for orthotics will be performed.
DIFFERENT TOPICAL TREATMENTS FOR CRACKED HEELS PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT
When selecting a topical treatment for the prevention or aftercare management of cracked heels, it’s critical to understand the many types of medications available and what podiatrists commonly recommend.
Emollient therapy is the daily application of topical therapies, and many formulations are available (with some products combining these formulations) for different ailments. These could include:
- Urea-based: Most lotions and treatments on the market contain 10% urea cream. They are widely available under Aquacare and Nutraplus; another good alternative is Calmurid, which contains 10% urea cream and 5% lactic acid. The more the urea concentration of your topical treatment, the more serious your cracked heels/heel fissures are. For example, Elactol includes 25% urea cream, whereas Neat Feet Heel Balm contains 26% urea cream. Products containing 25% urea cream or more have been shown to improve dryness, discomfort considerably, and overall foot look.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids: These acids, composed of lactic, citric, and glycolic acids, are commonly found in natural products such as sugar cane, fruit, and milk. Alpha-hydroxy acids are included in over-the-counter products such as QV Feet Heel Balm, which specializes in lowering keratinization (the hardening of the foot skin) and skin exfoliation.
- Salicylic acid-based solutions are ideal for skin exfoliation since they alleviate discomfort, fissures, and hyperkeratosis (skin hardening). Most cracked-heel products contain salicylic acid mixed with urea cream, and salicylic should only be used on thick, dry, cracked skin. Salicylic products may induce an unpleasant stinging sensation when applied to injured skin.
- Isomerate of saccharide: Saccharide isomerate, another name for pentavitin, is a key ingredient in various topical medicines like Ellgy Heel Balm. Because pentavitin is difficult to wash off, it functions as a moisturizing agent, resulting in excellent moisturization.