What is cracked skin on feet?

Cracked Skin on Feet
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Cracked skin on the soles of the feet in children: Overview

Cracked skin on the soles of the feet can occur when your child wears wet socks or shoes. The cracks can be deep and painful. Your doctor may call this "juvenile plantar dermatosis." The cracks tend to happen during cold weather when your child wears heavy socks and boots. Skin cracks can also happen when feet sweat during hot, humid weather or anytime socks or footwear keep moisture next to the skin.

Cracked skin often gets better on its own. But it can come back again. Using moisturizing creams often and keeping the feet dry can help heal cracks.

How can you care for your child who has cracked skin on the soles of their feet?

  • If your doctor prescribes medicine, use it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with the medicine.
  • Apply a moisturizing cream to the soles of your child's feet several times a day. Use over-the-counter products that your doctor suggests. These may include Cetaphil, Lubriderm, or Eucerin. Petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) also works.
  • At night you can apply petroleum jelly to your child's feet.
  • To prevent chapped skin from coming back, help your child avoid wearing moist shoes or socks. Have your child change into dry shoes and socks if their feet get damp. If needed, have your child change socks 1 or 2 times each day.

Cracked skin on the soles of the feet in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.