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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. You can also cover long-lasting cracks with a liquid bandage (a plastic coating that stays covers the crack for several days).


Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-06-18
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02

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 health care professional.

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