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Cracked skin of feet: an ignored entity in the tropics

The Sri Lanka Medical Association
  • Feet
  • Medicine
  • Tropics
  • Cracked Skin


Ceylon Medical-Sept. 2004.p65 Vol. 49, No. 3, September 2004 101 Research letters Pubudu de Silva, Medical Officer, Sampath Kusumsiri, Medical Officer and Rani Wasala, Paediatrician, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka. Correspondence: RW, Tel: +94 11 2778610, e-mail: <[email protected]> (Competing interests: none declared). Received 25 March 2004 and revised version accepted 20 April 2004. Vertical cracking of skin at the edge of the soles is seen in many adults of Sri Lanka. However, none of the standard textbooks on dermatology or general medicine describe it as an entity. We were able to find it mentioned in one text- book written by Finnish and African authors [1]. A survey of MEDLINE using key words “cracking of skin”, “cracked skin” and “splitting of skin” did not reveal a single article suggestive of this disorder (accessed on 14 October 2003). The objective of our study was to assess the preva- lence, complications and possible aetiological factors of cracked skin of feet. We conducted two pilot studies in adults (>18 years) from rural areas (Moneragala District) and in an urban population (National Hospital, of Sri Lanka). In the rural study, the samples consisted of consecutive adults attend- ing the general Outpatients’ Department (OPD) of Moneragala Base Hospital (n=42) and those selected from a community survey (n=33). In the urban study the preva- lence was noted from a consecutive sample of adults at- tending the general OPD of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) and living in Colombo (n=100). Exclu- sion criteria were the presence of serious illness, requir- ing bed rest or overt skin disease (such as allergy). A separate case control study of 112 persons was also conducted in the general OPD of NHC, with those observed to have cracked skin of feet being matched for age and sex. Trained pre-intern medical officers collected data and examined participants using structured questionnaires. The results of the rural study revealed that t

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