Cracked heels are a very common foot problem, also known as heel fissures. They are caused by dry skin and loss of moisture from the heel of the foot. Cracked heels are splits in the skin around the heel. The skin splits when it is inflexible.
The skin gets its flexibility from water in the skin so it can become inflexible when it is thick and hard or when it is dry. When pressure is put onto the heel from the bodyweight it would usually need to stretch and spread out a little to cope with the weight. If the heel cannot stretch because the skin is inflexible it will split.
They can be painful and the skin can bleed. Some people tend to have a naturally dry skin that makes the skin easy to crack.
Causes of cracked heels:
Cold winter weather
Increasing age - skin naturally loses moisture as it ages
Prolonged standing, especially on hard floors
Open-back shoes, thin soled shoes and sandals
Shoes that are too loose or tight around the heel can shear and rub the skin
Dehydration, or not drinking enough water and poor nutrition
Not moisturizing your feet
Soaking in a hot bath for too long or too frequently
Using harsh, drying soaps on your feet
Scrubbing feet dry
Zinc and omega-3 fatty acid deficiency
Disease and Disorders- Athlete's foot, Psoriasis, Eczema, Thyroid disease, Diabetes and some other skin conditions may also cause cracked heels
Prevention of cracked heels:
Wear shoes that cover your feet to help keep the skin moist. Do not wear loose or tight footwear that can rub the heels.
Drinking plenty of water keeps your skin moisturized. And if you live in a dry area, use a humidifier in your home to moisturize the air.
Moisturize your feet daily. Moisturize after each shower. Every time you step out of the bath or shower, the next step should be to rub moisturizer into your feet. This helps to seal moisture in.
When you bathe, keep it short. Keep water lukewarm. Very hot water will dry out your skin — on your feet and everywhere else.
Try an oatmeal bath. Skip harsh soaps. Bathing with a moisturizing, skin-soothing, gentle, mild cleanser that is oatmeal-based will help protect feet from cracked heels.
Don't scrub your feet. Vigorously rubbing your feet with a washcloth to get them clean or a towel to dry them after you bathe will only dry them out more. Gently pat your skin clean and dry instead.
Remove dry skin safely and gently with a foot file or by using a pumice stone in the bath or shower twice a week.
Do not attempt to try and remove hard skin with scissors, blades or other sharp instruments.
Soak your feet in warm water at least once a week as this will help to increase blood circulation to your feet. You can add a spoon of fresh mint leaf juice to the water for relief from dry cracked heels.
If you spot any signs of infection (soreness, redness, or swelling) around a dry, cracked area, you should get to a podiatrist. And people with diabetes should always have any foot condition checked out by a podiatrist — especially cracked heels.
Some home remedies to heal your cracked heels in the first place:
It's important to note that skin problems on our feet can be a sign of other health issues, and particularly people with diabetes, skin or circulation problems will want to discuss any foot care regimen with their doctor before beginning. If the cracks on your heels are very deep or bleeding, you'll also want to speak with your doctor.
If like most of us, you're just suffering from worn and weathered skin, here is some remedies to combat dry and cracked skin on your heels.
To heal your fissures, try this: Before going to sleep, soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Then scrub your heels and other dry areas with a pumice stone. It will gently slough off your dead cells. If you already have small cracks, be careful not to irritate those areas. Rinse off your feet, pat them dry, then apply thick moisturizer. Put on a pair of thick socks, and go to sleep. Continue to repeat the process until the cracks are completely gone.
Massage cracked heels with one of these oils- sesame oil, coconut oil or any other vegetable oil after washing the feet clean. Wear a pair of thick socks and go to bed. Follow this schedule for 3-5 days or as per your requirement- till you heal your cracked heels.
Apply the pulp of a super ripe banana, which has almost turned black, on the dry or cracked area of the heel. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it clean. If you have little more serious cracks in feet, you can take half an avocado or half a coconut (its flesh) and add this to banana. Blend the things together to form a paste and apply this to cracked heels. Avocado and coconut contain essential oils, minerals and vitamins that will nourish your dry feet skin as well as prevent cracked heels. Instead of banana, the pulp of a ripe papaya can also be used.
Soak the feet in lemon juice for about 10 minutes. Follow this therapy on a weekly basis until one finds a change.
Make a mixture of lemon juice and papaya; apply it on the cracked heels. Let it be there for 20 minutes at least. Wash off after 20 minutes.
Make natural exfoliating scrub with honey, apple cider vinegar, and rice flour. To make this, grind two or three tablespoon of rice to get a coarse flour (don't make it fine). Add a few spoons of honey and apple cider vinegar to coarse rice flour to get a thick paste. If your heel cracks are very deep, add a spoon of olive oil or sweet almond oil. Soak your feet for about 20 minutes in warm water and then gently massage with this paste. The vinegar in this cracked heel treatment will help to dissolve the thickened layers of dead skin while the rice flour will gently abrade the top layer of dead skin. Honey and olive oil act as natural moisturizers and will help to keep the skin on your feet soft and moisturized and this will prevent further cracking.
Mix sugar with some oil, (olive, coconut, jojoba oil, just any oil) and scrub your feet with it.
You can make your own moisturizing cracked heel cream by mixing together a spoon of olive oil along with a few drops of lemon oil or lavender oil. Pour this blend of oils into a small bottle and add an equal amount of water to it. Shake the contents thoroughly so that the water and oil form a thick milky solution. Use this homemade remedy for dry cracked heels as and when it is needed. Make sure that you shake the solution before you use it.
All the above-mentioned information and suggestions I've found on the Internet and shared with people who are close to me. They have got good results by following this information. So, I share this information with you. Hope this information will help you to heal cracked heels.