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Causes of Cracked Skin on the Feet

Causes of Cracked Skin on the Feet Causes of Cracked Skin on the Feet

Over the course of a typical day, your feet take a lot of abuse. This is especially true of the heels and bottoms of your feet. Once the skin on your feet begins to become fissured and thick, you are faced with cracked skin. Cracked skin on your feet may be caused by a number of problems and may lead to pain, discomfort and even bleeding.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of the most common causes of cracked skin. It is caused by the skin losing moisture at the surface, according to DermNet NZ. Potential causes of dry skin include irritation from friction, genetics, excessive use of soaps and detergents, excessive weight loss, an underactive thyroid gland, cold weather and aging. Not only will your skin be cracked, but also the accompanying dry skin will often be itchy or painful. Taking showers in place of baths may aid your feet in healing. Other treatments include applying an over-the-counter emollient cream on the affected area immediately after bathing or when the area becomes itchy. Also, replace your soap with a gel that does not dry the skin. Serious cases of dry skin may require a topical steroid, which may only be obtained with a physician's prescription.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, occurs as a result of a fungal infection. Fungus may grow and multiply on your feet, particularly in the areas between your toes. Because the fungus seeks out areas that are warm and moist, you are most at risk of developing athlete's foot if you regularly sweat profusely, normally have wet feet for extended periods of time or wear shoes that are closed and lined with plastic. According to MedlinePlus, redness and itchiness are common signs and symptoms of athlete's foot. Other signs and symptoms include a burning sensation, oozing blisters and skin that is cracking, peeling and flaking. Most forms of athlete's foot are treated with an antifungal powder that is available over the counter.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses appear as thickened skin and are found near the rim of your heel. The corns and calluses cause the skin to crack when the fat pad under your heels expands sideways as the result of increased pressure. If you regularly stand for extended periods of time, are overweight or frequently wear shoes with open backs, you are at an increased risk for calluses that lead to cracked feet. Your cracked feet may be treated by moisturizing the affected area with creams. Prescription medications containing salicylic acid or urea are often used for severe cases.

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