How do Cracked Heels Occur?
Sometimes skin gets so dry and starved of moisture that it either starts to peel or become ashy. When it comes to heels however, the skin can become thickened, darkened and in some cases where the skin becomes too dry, it can begin to crack. Many people enjoy wearing flip flops, sandals or open shoes, especially during the warmer seasons. And although cracked heels aren’t so obvious, they aren’t a very pretty sight to see. The worst part is if you do not take care of cracked heels early on, they can worsen and start bleeding or worse—become infected.
So how do cracked heels happen?
Causes of Cracked Heels
One of the most common causes of cracked heels is the constant exposure to air, which then dries out the skin. Calluses can form as the skin dries out. However, because the feet are constantly under pressure from standing, walking and running, the problem may worsen. Heel fissures, or cracks in the skin in the heels, can form from the combination of skin dryness and pressure on the feet.
Although cracked heels seem to be nothing more than an aesthetic problem, it can worsen over time if not attended to. The cracks in the skin may deepen over time and can start bleeding. Because the feet are constantly exposed to bacteria, infections may easily happen as well.
Healing Cracked Heels
Healing cracked heels is relatively simple. You can try several methods such as soaking your feet in some warm water for 15-20 minutes before sloughing off the thickened, dry skin with a pumice stone (avoid any cracks! They may become irritated). If you are going to a beach, walking along the sand can also help to naturally exfoliate your feet (do not do this if your cracked heels are already bleeding or infected).
You can also apply a generous amount of lotion on your feet before bed and wear socks to help the lotion absorb better as you sleep (be careful—make sure your feet are dry before you do this or else you may end up with a fungal infection). Also, there are several creams on the market these days that are created specifically for the purpose of getting rid of cracked heels.
If you run a lot, or play a lot of sports, be careful on your feet. Slow down your pace a little especially if the fissures on your feet already run deep.
Also, if the fissures on your feet are already bleeding or infected, see a podiatrist. They can help you to better take care of your feet so your cracks can heal.
Preventing Cracked Heels
When you finally get rid of cracked heels, it is imperative to continue taking care of your feet so they do not occur once more. To prevent them, drink a lot of fluids to keep your body hydrated. Wear shoes that are closed so that the skin will be kept moist. Use a pumice stone while showering at least a couple times per week and remember to moisturize your feet with lotion frequently.
More Cracked Heel Remedies:
- After bathing, apply shortening or hydrogenated vegetable oil on the affected area and wear socks
- Rub on pulp of a banana and leave on for about 10 minutes
- In a blender mix a banana, half an avocado and half a coconut and rub this mixture on
- Lemon juice helps dissolve dead skin. Soak your feet in a mixture of the juice and water and use a soft brush to remove the dead skin
- Soak feet in warm, soapy water for 10 to 20 minutes. Use a mixture of 1 lemon juiced with about a tbsp. of Vaseline, rub this on and wear a pair of socks before going to bed. Try this on a daily basis until you se signs on improvement.
- Regularly apply a mixture of rosewater and glycerin
- Mix paraffin wax with mustard oil and apply for about 2 weeks
- Make a natural paste with ground rice, honey and olive oil to help scrub the dead skin off after soaking the feet for about 20 minutes
- Make a natural moisturizing lotion with olive oil, drops of lavender oil and an equal amount of water. Shake this mixture in a bottle before using each time.
Hope this article helps. For more information, visit DermNet NZ