Last week on 10 TV News, I caught a clip of a local Ohio State student who suffers from an allergy to the cold. The segment showed that cold allergies really do exist and can cause an allergic reaction with hives or an itchy rash on exposed surfaces. While many of us certainly FEEL like we’re allergic to the cold this time of the year, luckily this allergy affects a relatively small percent of the population.
Unfortunately, however, the bitter cold of the Columbus area can have a variety of negative effects on the skin of those even without a legitimate cold allergy and can be especially troublesome in the foot! When the skin of the heel becomes overly dry a condition called a heel fissure can occur more easily. A fissure is a crack into a deep layer of the skin, below the superficial layer called the epidermis, and can occur anywhere in skin that is thickened or callused. Because the heel is generally the thickest skin of the foot, fissures can occur in the heel when it becomes dry. The fissure can bleed and be very painful. As with any open wound in the skin, this provides the potential for an infection to enter the body. Without regular self-examination of the foot and wounds, and knowing when to call a podiatrist, infections are capable of causing gangrene. Diabetic patients are especially at risk for gangrene, which is the death of tissues near the infection from loss of oxygen supply. You should immediately call a podiatrist if you suspect infection or gangrene near a heel fissure because it can spread through the body and cause tissue death in vital organs.
To prevent all of these problems, several steps can be taken to avoid heel fissures in the first place! One way to begin preventing a heel spur is to try to prevent any heel calluses from forming. Ways to do this would be to decrease the amount of friction and rubbing that your heel has to deal with by purchasing properly fitting shoes. Some calluses can also form as a result of an abnormal bony growth in the skeleton of the foot which may require orthotics or surgical correction in order to stop the development of calluses. Another step in heel fissure prevention, especially in the cold dry winter months, would be to properly moisturize the skin of your feet. So remember that even though it’s still a few more months until it’s time to bust out the sandals and flaunt your toes, moisturizing and taking good care of your feet is important all year long!!
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.