When the skin becomes thick or dry on and around your heels, it loses its smoothness and elasticity. After this, even the most gentle of pressures, such as a light walk, can split and crack your heel, and this can lead to unsightly, painful and even bleeding cracked heels.
Anyone can find themselves dealing with dry, cracked heels that are usually a result of a poor diet, dry climate or even diabetes and issues with the thyroid gland. Luckily, there are a few things you can try before heading the the pharmacy.
Note: Severe cases should be discussed with your doctor. Not all of the following methods are suitable for everyone.
1. Vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is generally used to re-hydrate exhausted skin. Soak the feet for about 10 minutes in soapy water and scrub the affected area with a pumice stone. Make sure you don’t cause any unnecessary damage to your feet by scrubbing the dead skin only. Apply some vegetable oil on the areas that you finished scrubbing.
Lemons will reduce the irritation and the cracking, while softening the dry skin. Add a small amount of lemon juice ( use half a small lemon) to your foot bath. The water should be warm and make sure you don’t add too much lemon juice as it can worsen the condition.
After soaking the feet for 10 minutes or so, scrub the affected areas, and wash and dry the feet.
3. Rice flour
Rice flour is used as an exfoliating scrub. Add honey and apple cider vinegar to the rice flour. Mix everything well until you get a thick paste. Soak your feet in warm water for around 10 minutes and rub the rice flour paste on the affected areas.
Known as Indian lilac or margosa, neem does wonder for feet that are itchy too as it helps fight infections.
Crush the neem leaves and you’ll get a paste that you need to apply on the affected areas. Let it stay for half an hour before you rinse with warm water.
5. Paraffin wax
The paraffin wax can prove to be a lifesaver. It softens the skin naturally and proves immediate relief. This method is not recommended for people with blood circulation problems or diabetes.
Mel the paraffin wax and add some coconut oil (a standard block of wax requires 2 tablespoons of oil). Let the mixture cool and dip your feet in it. The mix is cool enough when there is a crispy layer formed on the top. If you feel any discomfort when doing this, stop immediately.
Causes of cracked heels!
Conditions such as dryness and pressure can lead to cracked heels as the skin becomes unable to maintain levels of moisture and ultimately becomes fragile, resulting in breaks. Here are some of the most common causes of cracked heels:
Lacking moisture. This is the most common cause. The skin is often dry, rough and chapped under your feet. This is because there is a relatively small number of sweat glands in the skin around your heels. Tallow normally helps to make the skin soft and prevents it from getting dry. If your skin is particularly hard and dry, cracked skin may appear easier because there is less elasticity that can be exacerbated by any of the issues below.
Deficiencies. Your diet’s lack of vitamins, minerals and zinc can adversely affect the health of your heels.
Pressure. Standing at work or at home for a long period of time can stress your skin on your heels.
Aging skin. As you age, thick, dry, scaly skin loses its elasticity, and such cracks may have a higher incidence as you grow old.
Disorders. Whether it’s athlete’s foot, eczema, psoriasis, thyroid disease or diabetes, many skin conditions can be the cause of cracked heels.
Obesity. Obesity can increase the pressure under the heel. This can cause it to expand sideways and can leads to cracked heels.
Exposing footwear. Open – back sandals or shoes can allow fat to expand sideways under the heel and increase the chances of cracking on your heels. It is important to regularly take care of your feet when wearing shoes that expose your heels especially during the summer season.
Hygiene. Another cause of cracked heels may be the failure to keep your feet properly clean.
Poor fitting shoes. Cracked heels and heel pain can be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit you properly.