Cracked heels are a very uncomfortable and painful problem and it is believed that their main cause is dry skin of the feet and the pressure exerted on the heels. In mild cases this problem can be solved by using foot lotions and special moisturizers, but if the cracks or fissures are deep, they may require more serious treatment.
Symptoms and causes of cracked heels
Cracked heels almost always start with dry and very dry skin of the feet. This condition is called xeratosis and it can be caused by a number of factors, from dry weather, inadequate fluid intake, lack of moisturizing, genes, age and low production of sweat glands.
Cracked heels can also result from too much walking or standing, wearing tight or poorly-fitting shoes and high heels, flat feet, highly arched feet or an athlete’s foot.
In the beginning of this problem, the skin becomes dry and begins to harden. This causes pain while walking, especially in flat shoes. The skin appears flaky, tough, peeling or itchy. If this is not addressed, cracks may develop in the hardened layer of skin. These cracks can go very deep and sometimes they affect the healthy tissue below the hardened area. They may also bleed and become infected.
Treatment for cracked heels
Mild and moderate cases of cracked heels can be effectively treated at home, using various remedies. Severe cases, however, require medical attention and it is recommended to see a dermatologist or a pediatrist.
Soaking the feet in warm or hot water with essential oils or mineral salts should be done daily, and after 20 or 30 minutes of soaking, the hardened skin should be rubbed off with a pumice stone. This procedure should be repeated until the skin is completely healed.
As for home remedies, there are many natural treatments that work really well on cracked heels. Lemon, for example, is very effective and it can be added to the water used for the soaking of the feet.
Coconut oil also works well, and it can me massaged into the skin on the heels.
A great remedy combines banana pulp, one avocado and half a coconut. These ingredients are combined in a paste that is applied to the heels and left to dry. After this, the feet should be cleaned with warm water and thoroughly dried.