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Cracked Skin

What is cracked skin?

Cracked skin most commonly occurs on the soles of the feet, especially the heels and big toes. Cracked skin in these areas is called juvenile plantar dermatosis. Deep cracks are painful and periodically bleed. The main cause is wearing wet shoes and socks or swimming a lot.

Cracks can also develop on the hands of children who frequently wash dishes or suck their thumbs.

How can I take care of my child?

Even deep cracks that have lasted for many years can heal in about 2 weeks if they are constantly covered with an ointment (like petroleum jelly). If the crack seems mildly infected, use an antibiotic ointment (a nonprescription item). Apply the ointment 4 times a day. Covering the ointment with a Band-Aid speeds recovery even more.

An even quicker solution is to cover long-lasting cracks with a crack sealer or bandage (a plastic coating that stays on and covers the crack for several days). A highly effective product is Nexcare skin crack care by 3M.

Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.3 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-06-07
Last reviewed: 2015-06-11
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD FAAP. All rights reserved.
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