Cracked heels, or heel fissures, are a common condition in which the skin begins to break along the outer edge of the heel. The skin there becomes very dry, hard and flaky, which causes the fissures to occur. Some of these fissures may even lead to painful bleeding. But there's no need to lose hope, because there are excellent home remedies to treat this condition. Let's review some of them.
What Causes Cracked Heels?
Cracked heels can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons, but here are some of the most commonly found responsible factors:
- Walking barefoot for extended periods of time
- Regular use of sandals
- Living in dry climates
- Wearing open-backed shoes
- Thick, hard and inflexible skin around the heels
- Walking or standing on your heels for a long time
- Lack of proper support from footwear around the heel
- Prolonged standing on hard floors
- Inactive sweat glands
- Poor foot hygiene
- Being obese or overweight
- Athlete's Foot, eczema or other skin conditions
- Deficiency in minerals, vitamins, or zinc
- Thyroid problems or Diabetes
- Flat feet or high arched heels
How Can You Treat Cracked Heels?
One of the most important habits to adopt if you have cracked heels, or have had it in the past, is to keep your feet moisturized at all times. Use a soft foot file on your cracked heels to reduce the development of fissures and to remove dry and dead skin cells. Remember, getting rid of cracked heels can be a bit of a process, and the condition will not disappear overnight.
1. Use Oils
Hydrogenated vegetable oil is said to be very good at treating cracked heels. Other oils that are good for treating the condition are: sesame, coconut, olive and vegetable oils. First, clean your feet with soap and water and pat them dry. If you already have cracks in your heels, rub your feet down for a few minutes with a pumice stone to get rid of the dry skin. Then, clean the area with a tissue and apply the oils to any cracks or sores on your heels. Rub the oils in liberally and leave on your feet overnight. For effective results, apply oil each night for a week and you will experience a dramatic improvement in your cracked heels.
2. Ripe Bananas
Bananas can be an excellent moisturizer if they are used correctly. Mash up the banana and apply the mixture to your dry and cracked heels. Leave it on your feet for 15 minutes, then wash the mixture off with warm water. Later, use cold water to wash off the remainder and to refresh your feet.
3. Paraffin Wax
If you experience pain from cracked heels, paraffin wax can give you almost instant relief. Mix the paraffin with coconut or mustard oil and then heat it up until the wax melts. Use the resulting liquid and apply it to your feet to be left overnight and wash it off in the morning. You'll be amazed at the results!
4. Lemon Juice
Applying lemon juice to cracked heels will soften the skin as lemon has acidic properties. Stick your feet in a bucket of lukewarm water and lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes to hydrate your feet. Once you finish, clean your feet with a pumice stone and pat your feet dry.
5. Rice Flour With Honey and Vinegar
This is a great natural scrub for removing dead skin cells. To make the scrub, take 2 tablespoons of rice flour and mix it with 2-3 tablespoons of honey and vinegar. This should make a thick paste. Then, soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes, apply the scrub on your heels and wash it off with warm water once it's dry.
Using just honey alone can also aid your cracked heels because it has antibacterial and moisturizing properties. When you soak your feet, mix 2-3 tablespoons of honey into the warm water and soak for 15 minutes. This will leave your feet feeling moist and supple.
7. Salt Water
Believe it or not, this is an excellent remedy for dry and cracking heels, and it may be why most of the beach bums you know have soft, baby-like feet. Place your feet into a bucket of salty warm water and leave them there for 15 minutes. Now remove your feet and place them in a bucket of cold water for 10 minutes. This will improve the blood circulation to your feet.
8. Indian Lilac or Neem Leaves
If you are able to purchase this herb fresh or have a paste available to you at your natural foods store, this solution is most effective in the ridding of cracked heels for an extended period of time. Apply a mixture of neem leaf powder and turmeric powder to the cracked area of your heels. Leave the mixture there for 30-45 minutes and wash away the paste when you are done. Pat your feet dry. You should see results in only a few days
9. Petroleum Jelly
If you regularly scrub your cracked heels with a pumice stone, and then apply petroleum jelly, this will help you get rid of the dryness. After you have scrubbed your feet with a pumice stone, apply petroleum jelly to them before you go to bed. You will wake with softer and mostly crack-free heels.
10. Rosewater and Glycerin
Mix together equal amounts of rosewater and glycerin and rub the mixture over your cracked heels. If any of the fissures are open or bleeding, this could sting as a result of the glycerin (it contains alcohol). This should keep your skin soft for hours, and the mixture can be easily applied before you put on sandals or walk around barefoot outside.
11. Drinking Water
It is important to keep your body hydrated, as this will prevent your feet from going dry. You should drink 12-15 glasses of water a day to give your heels the necessary elasticity so they won't crack in the future.
12. Watch Your Calcium Intake
To improve the state of your cracked heels, you need to watch your calcium intake. Add foods like yogurt, milk, and cheese, broccoli or fish to your diet.
13. Vitamin E and Iron
By adding Vitamin E to your diet, you will significantly aid in the healing of cracked heels. Foods like vegetable oils, green vegetables, nuts and whole grains are great sources of vitamin E that you should try to incorporate into your diet. Iron is also important for curing cracked heels, so make sure that you are eating enough meat, chicken, and fish.
14. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Foods like flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, and cold water fish are known to be rich sources of Omega 3, which helps reduce the effect of cracked heels.
If you suffer from cracked heels, try some of these natural and home-made remedies, and you are sure to have soft, supple feet.