Children & Adolescents Clinic

 Home Parent's Guide

Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Spanish version

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.


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.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems