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All Cracked Up

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August 2003
All Cracked Up

Dry, fissuring skin is not a laughing matter. Not only can it be unsightly, it can also be painful and dangerous. Skin responds to many different types of stimuli in our environment, both Internal and external. In response to the many different stimuli, the body may choose to thicken the skin, form a blister, or break down to an ulcer. The skin also responds to a variety of diseases such as diabetes, which can damage the nerves of the feet and cause a drying of the skin.

The skin forms a natural barrier between the outside world and us. When the skin becomes damaged or does not perform its normal duties our bodies may become vulnerable to infection. The infections that occur inside the fissures of the skin are more difficult to treat and heal.

Thick skin should be debrided down. You can do this yourself using a pumas stone or file. Do not use a razor. Also, over-the-counter callous and corn removers are not recommended. They are dilute acids and may cause burns and more damage. The skin is best debrided after a bath when the water has softened it. Lotions should also be used regular to help soften

And prevent cracking. If you are unable to do all of this yourself, Your podiatrist can help you and maybe even prescribe medications to help Moisturize the skin or even help it peel.

If you develop cracking in the skin, which leads to an infection, seek medical attention immediately. A small fissure, which is covered by a large amount of thickened skin, may actually be a much larger ulcer. Thick skin, which has built up, may place undo pressure on the skin thus preventing it from receiving normal circulation and hindering healing.

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Dr. Ketan Patel was raised in Atlanta. He is a graduate from John Hopkins Hospital systems. He is an expert at Podiatry. He may be reached at 404-768-feet.


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