Dry cracked heels are well known foot problem. They usually occur when dry skin is left untreated. The skin on the sole of the foot is thick due to continuous pressure placed on them and this pressure on the heels cause the skin to split or breaks in the skin. If no action is taken, severe conditions may occur and when the cracks are too deep, they cause extreme pain. Moreover, deep cracks act as a route to the entry of bacteria leading to infection. If it is infected, serious health problem may occur especially for a person with immune suppressing diseases such as diabetes or other disease state. See your doctor as the condition needs prompt medical treatment.
Causes of dry cracked heels
As mentioned earlier, cracked heels are typical manifestation of neglected dry skin on the heels of the feet. They also occur due to certain skin diseases like; eczema, psoriasis, athletes foot. Diabetes also plays a role in causing dry cracked heels. Other contributing factors to dry cracked heels are: continuous wearing of open-heeled shoes, being overweight, standing for longer time, vitamin and minerals deficiency.
Some of the symptoms you may experience from dry cracked heels are:
- Accumulation of thick yellow colored callus which is unattractive to look at
- Pain and discomfort during walking, standing or running
- Deep cracks may bleed
- Difficulty walking
What to do for dry cracked heels?
There are several easy and effective natural ways to heal dry cracked heels which do not cost you expensive foot creams and you can get them right from your kitchen or easily from the stores. To deal with the condition, use the four methods that are described below.
- Soften them by soaking and scrubbing
Removing dead skin through the process of scrubbing is the first and the most important thing in attempting to heal dry cracked heels. To scrub, first you need to soak your feet.
The purpose of soaking is to make heels soft and to remove the dead skin from the area easily. Before soaking your feet, check for the sign of infection. If you found them infected, see your doctor. Soak your feet only if they are dry and cracked, but not infected.
Soaking: Fill the basin with warm water, not hot water, add the juice of one lemon. The acidic property in lemon makes dry skin on the feet dissolve easily. Dip your feet in the solution for 10-15 minutes. Take pumice stone and start rubbing in circular motion. Pay special attention to affected area when rubbing. Don’t scrub vigorously. Tea Tree Oil With Epsom Salt is widely used to heal dry cracked feet or heels. Exfoliating with rough Epsom salt can help remove dead skin around heel. For soothing and moisturizing purpose, you can add your favorite essential oil. Mix 1 cup of Epsom salt with 10 drops of essential oil such as, lavender. Apply the mixture on the affected area and other parts of your feet.Dry them thoroughly and apply moisturizing cream. Repeat this procedure three times a week to get baby like smooth heels.
- Restore moisture
Dry cracked heels are the condition from which the moisture is stolen. So, you must restore the lost moisture to those affected heels. Use the following natural moisturizing ingredients to retain moisture in the skin.
- Cocoa butter
Cocoa butter is the perfect moisturizer that contains natural antioxidants and saturated fat. Its emollient property helps reduce evaporation of water from the skin surface. Take a handful of pure cocoa butter, gently rub it on the affected area daily, do not forget to put on cotton socks after applyng to keep the area well moisturized.
- Petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly is the cheapest and easiest remedy that is used to combat dry cracked skin because of its ability to reduce moisture loss and preventing water evaporation. Before going to bed, coat the affected area with petroleum jelly, wear cotton socks to seal the moisture in the skin. Keep on applying it every night until you see a good progress.
Humectants, such as honey and glycerin, sooth the cracked heels by hydrating and drawing moisture into the skin surface. In addition to moisturizing, honey can prevent the infection from occurring. Now go to your kitchen and get 1 cup of honey, mix it with warm water in a basin. Dip your feet in the mixture for 20 minutes gently scrub and rinse off then apply a thick moisturizer. Repeat this every day to get rid of dry feet and cracked heels. You can use glycerin alternatively.
- Massage with vegetable oils
Vegetable oils are natural moisturizers that are used to hydrate and heal dry skin conditions. There are variety of vegetable oils that can be used to massage the skin. Some of them are: sesame oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and Aloe Vera oil. You can take one of them and rub gently on your feet while paying more attention to affected part. Seal the moisture in by putting on a pair of cotton socks.
- Consume healthy and balanced diet
- Consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants.
- Make sure that you are drinking enough water each day.