Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 76-year-old male in excellent health. The skin on my heels tends to be dry and callous, and at times develops cracks that can become painful and take time to heal. I shower and change my socks daily. I’ve tried applying Vaseline or Aquaphor as a preventive with some success, but the cracks still occur. Could there be bacteria or fungi involved that contribute to this problem? Can you recommend a medication that might help? — R.L.
Answer: Many people experience cracking in the skin of the heel. Dry skin is the most common cause, and proper footwear, moisturizing and avoiding excess washing with harsh soaps all may help. If the problem continues, it is more likely an inflammatory condition like eczema than it is a fungal or bacterial infection. Making the proper diagnosis will help guide treatment, which may include steroid ointments or even glue to repair the cracking. A podiatrist or dermatologist would be a good first stop.
Dear Dr. Roach: My 80-year-old wife recently began to have tremors in her left leg while walking with her walker. After looking at several MRIs of her back, her orthopedic doctor said everything appeared to be OK and recommended she see a neurologist. Can a neurologist somehow help to eliminate or reduce the tremor in her left leg? — B.R.