Are Dry, Cracked Heels a Sign of Diabetes?
Could painful, dry, cracked heels be a sign of a more serious problem than just an unsightly cosmetic issue? The answer is yes.
While dry, cracked heels can be a result of a number of factors such as exposure to cold weather, dehydration, taking too long in a hot bath and/or shower, and using hard soaps, cracked heels could also be one of the first signs of diabetes or a thyroid problem.
An underlying diabetic condition can cause sweat glands to malfunction as well as uncontrolled blood sugar levels. This can result in nerve damage in your feet, known as peripheral neuropathy, which restricts blood flow and circulation. Neuropathy increases your risk for dry skin and the occurrence of cracked heels.
Cracked heels can also be a result of your thyroid failing to properly regulate hormones. The thyroid helps keep your metabolic rate, blood pressure, tissue growth, skeletal and nervous system development in check. When your thyroid malfunctions, your skin can dry out and cause skin on the heels of the feet to crack.
There are many over-the-counter options to treat cracked heels and alleviate pain associated with them, such as lotion specifically formulated for feet and cracked heels. However, if your condition doesn’t improve after trying an at-home treatment, you should consider making an appointment with your podiatrist to your heels evaluated.
Remember, open cracks or fissures can allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream and cause an infection, leading to further health complications.