Cracked heels are a fairly common problem which affect many people, especially during the warmer seasons. They look untidy and unhealthy and they can also cause a significant amount of pain and discomfort. Fortunately, this problem is not dangerous and it can be solved easily by following useful tips and trying out several simple remedies.
Causes of cracked heels
There are many possible factors that lead to cracked heels. One of the most common ones is the skin that is naturally dry and thick. People who spend a lot of time on their feet, at home or at work, are more likely to suffer from this problem, especially if they are overweight. Too much pressure on the natural fat pad under the skin of the heels may expand it and if the skin is not flexible enough it can crack.
Footwear certainly plays an important role in foot health. Open-heeled sandals and shoes, flip flops and similar footwear expose the skin to the dirt and dry air, making it lose its moisture, become rough and crack.
Some diseases, like athlete’s foot, psoriasis, eczema, diabetes and thyroid disease may cause cracked heels as well.
Other factors include age, poor personal hygiene and dome vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Tips and remedies
One of the best ways to treat cracked heels is by soaking them. The water should be warm, not hot, with some lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or Epsom salts added in. Soaking should last for about 10 minutes and be repeated daily until the skin heals.
The pulp of a ripe banana applied directly to the skin is also an effective way to get rid of cracks. The pulp should be left on for 10 minutes and then rinsed off.
A mixture of glycerin and rose water should be applied daily onto the affected skin for as long as needed.
Papaya and lemon juice make a good remedy that needs to stay on for 20 minutes.
Feet can also be massaged with some coconut oil, which is good for moisturizing and soothing the skin.
Another effective remedy is a mixture of paraffin wax with some mustard oil. It should be applied every night, covered with clean cotton socks and rinsed in the morning for 10 to 15 days.
A similar remedy which is particularly effective for very painful cracked heels is made with paraffin wax, warmed up a bit so it melts, and a little coconut oil. This mixture should be applied so it enters all the cracks and left overnight.
People who are prone to dry and callous feet and cracked heels should also consider changing their diet and making sure that they take all the important nutrients, especially vitamin E, calcium, iron, zinc and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
It goes without saying that hygiene is essential for treating cracked heels. Feet should be washed and exfoliated regularly.