The cracked heels are a sign of lack of attention to foot care rather than just overexposure or lack of moisturizing. From a medicinal point of view, cracked heels are also known as heel fissures. Fissures are regular linear cut wounds and mainly affect the surface that comprises the epidermis. Sometimes it can penetrate deep into the dermis and become painful.
Causes of cracked heels
Excessive pressure on the pads of the feet, make them expand to the sides. As the skin around the sides of the feet becomes dry, it cracks and causes cracked heels. The appearance of dry cracked heels also indicates a deficiency of zinc and omega 3 fatty acids.
Although cracks in the skin can appear anywhere on the body, one of the most common is the edge area of the heel and toes, which happen to be the most frequently used parts of our body. Dry skin or xerosis is one of the most common causes that leads to cracked heels. The other key reason is thick skin or callus around the edge of the heel. Most foot problems arise due to negligence and carelessness when it comes to foot care. Cracked feet, corns and other common foot ailments can be taken care of and are easily preventable.
Cracked heels are not harmful in any case, except when the fissures or cracks are deep, and they tend to become painful and the skin begins to bleed. This could lead to infection; however, it is an avoidable situation especially for those who already suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes or reduced immune system due to age or a disease that can delay the treatment of cracked heels.
Cracked heels are a common condition for the elderly or for people who are constantly putting pressure on the pad of the feet. In addition to this, sebum production decreases with age and older adults tend to suffer from dry and cracked heels. Excessively dry skin, peeling skin, and dry, cracked skin on the heels are some of the most common skin problems that older people face. Dry skin on the heels is often a recurring problem. It can affect either one or just one.
Symptoms of cracked heels
The signs and symptoms that come to the surface of the skin are simple indicators of faulty internal activity or external abuse. If one observes the body and its manifestations carefully, one can avoid diseases and disorders by treating them before they take a destructive path. Similarly, feet indicate a little attention when feet look bad and can exhibit the following signs, which can be fixed with a little care.
Red or scaly patches:
This is often one of the first symptoms of dry cracked heels and if not taken into account, the condition can get worse over time. Dry skin is also vulnerable to dry skin infections and therefore it is important to treat the condition immediately.
Flaking and cracked skin:
This symptom usually follows the first symptom of red or scaly skin. Cracked and peeling skin is a definite sign of dry cracked heels and immediate steps should be taken to remedy the situation. Make sure not to try to remove the pieces of dry skin, as it could damage the skin that is attached. If you need to get rid of a long piece of dead skin (popularly called skin), you can use a small pair of scissors to gently trim away the dead skin.
Itchy skin is caused by abnormal thinning of the upper layers of dry skin. This excessive contraction causes stretching of the skin under and around the affected areas and the results of this is general discomfort and itching. You will need to get rid of the top layers of dead skin before starting any type of treatment for dry cracked heels.
Bleeding or discharge from cracks:
Bleeding or discharge from heel cracks is a very serious problem, as it indicates that cracks not only affect the upper layers of the skin, but also the lower layers of tissues. Deep cracks in the heels will also increase the individual's risk of a skin infection in this area.
Wearing closed-toe shoes without socks while your heels are dry and cracked will only serve to further increase the risk of yeast infection, closed-toe shoes provide yeast and yeast infections with the perfect habitat to reproduce.
Causes and natural remedies for cracked heels
This is a compilation of the most common causes that lead to heels to crack:
· Dry skin or skin thickening dried (callus) naturally formed around the heel which is more likely to crack it is often due to excessive activity of the feet.
· Prolonged standing at work or at home. Hard soles can also cause foot cracks.
· Excess weight can put pressure on the pad of normal fat under the heel, causing it to expand to the sides, and if the skin lacks flexibility, pressure on the feet leads to cracked heels.
· Open-back sandals or open-toe shoes allow the fat under the heel to expand to the side and increase the possibility of cracking in the heels.
· Athlete's foot diseases and disorders, psoriasis, eczema, thyroid disease, diabetes, and some skin conditions can also cause cracked heels.
· Continuous exposure to water. Water, especially running water, can strip skin of its natural oils, which can leave skin dry and rough.
· Standing for long periods in a damp place like a bathroom can cause dry and cracked heels.
Here is a list of some other reasons that can lead to cracked heels:
- Age: Dry and flaky thick skin loses elasticity with age and cracks therefore have a
- Tight shoes, standing for a long time or a change in walking posture.
- Unhygienic circumstances or conditions
- Diseased, dry and flaky skin due to weather or disease
- Deficiency of vitamins, minerals and zinc
Remedies for cracked heels
Foot care is not a disorder that one can get a clue of. This is also one of the reasons why they are almost always neglected. First of all, foot care begins with some attention.
One can seek help to cure their dry heels and cracked feet by opting for helpful measures that include treatment with home remedies that help treat fungus, one of the main causes of dry cracked heels. Home remedies have some of the best and best solutions that one can try and experiment with. However, it is important to note that when home remedies do not cure cracked heels, it is wise to make an appointment with your general practitioner.
This is a compilation of the best-known remedies to treat cracked heels:
You can use coconut oil after washing your feet on the dry and cracked areas of your feet. After applying a thick layer of fat or oil to your feet, wear a thick pair of socks. Leaving this application overnight can certainly give positive results in a few days.
Apply the pulp of a ripe banana to the dry or cracked area of the heel. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse clean. This is a simple remedy and can be used daily to prevent and treat dry and cracked heels.
Half an avocado or the meatiness of half a coconut in a blender together with the banana to form a thick and creamy paste. Avocados and coconuts are rich in various essential oils and fat-soluble vitamins. This paste will help provide your skin with the vitamins and oils it needs to keep it smooth and well moisturized. This paste can be used both to treat as well as to prevent dry cracked heels.
Soak your feet in lemon juice for about 10 minutes. Follow this therapy once a week until you find a change. Lemon juice is a very mild natural acid and helps dissolve dead, dry skin that can be easily removed. It's best to soak your feet in a lemon juice solution and then lightly scrub with a brush to gently exfoliate the top layers of dead skin that cause dry cracked heels.
Cleaning and hydration of the heels
A daily cleansing and hydration regimen is a good cure for dry or cracked heels. At the end of the day, soak your feet in warm soapy water for about 15 minutes. Wash the feet and dry. Make a mixture that includes: a teaspoon of Vaseline and the juice of a lemon. Rub this mixture on the cracked heels and other necessary areas of the feet until it is completely absorbed.
This can be done daily until visible results are obtained. It is best to apply this mixture on your feet just before going to bed. Next, put on a pair of thick wool socks to protect your sheets. Additionally, wool socks will help trap your body heat and this will increase the effectiveness of the mixture. You can exfoliate the skin before and after using this mixture. The oils in this blend will help soften your heels and this will allow you to easily peel off dead skin the next morning.
Water of roses
A regular application of a mixture of glycerin and rose water is known to soothe and heal cracked heels.
Melt paraffin wax and mix well with mustard oil. Apply to dry or cracked area of heels. Rinse in the morning. A continuous application of 10 to 15 days can achieve desirable results.
Exfoliate your feet regularly. Avoid harsh scrubs, you can instead make your own gentle, natural scrub with honey, apple cider vinegar, and rice flour. Add a few tablespoons of pure honey to the rice flour mixture together with the apple cider vinegar, to obtain a thick paste. If the cracks are very deep, a tablespoon of olive oil or sweet almond oil can be added for the paste. Soak your feet for 20 minutes and then massage gently with this paste.
The vinegar will help dissolve the thickened layers of dead skin, while the rice flour will gently sand down the top layer of dead skin. Honey and olive oil act as natural moisturizers and will help to keep the skin moisturized and this will prevent even more cracking.
Make your own moisturizer by mixing a tablespoon of olive oil along with a few drops of lemon oil or lavender oil. Pour this oil blend into a small bottle and add an equal amount of water to it. Shake the contents well so that the water and oil form a thick milky solution. Use this home remedy for dry cracked heels as and when needed. Make sure to shake it before use.
Diet for cracked heels
Cracked heels are caused by deficiency of vitamins, minerals, zinc and Omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore, it is essential to have a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and zinc. Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced naturally by the body; therefore, they have to be ingested from food or supplements.
Here is the list of essential foods that can be included in a regular meal and help deficiencies that can cause cracked heels:
· Vitamins (vitamin E) Rich foods include: vegetable oils, greens, grains, wheat germ, whole grain products, and nuts.
· Minerals (calcium and iron) Rich foods include:
· Calcium: Broccoli, avocado (avocado), sesame seeds, almonds, celery, asparagus, dandelion leaves, cabbage, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, chard, among others. (Avoid dairy products, these do not contain calcium due to the industrialization processes they go through).
· Iron: green vegetables, legumes, oats, parsley, potatoes, nuts, beans, among others.
· Foods rich in zinc include: chickpeas, beans, sunflower seeds, fish, among others.
· Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in: purslane grass, cold water fish, linseed oil or flax seeds, olive oil, among others.
Suggestions for cracked heels
Here are some simple tips for foot care:
1. Keep your feet clean and free of dirt
2. Exercise your feet regularly
3. Alternate hot and cold water for a foot bath to soothe them
4. Hydrate and exfoliate your feet whenever possible
5. Avoid walking barefoot as much as possible
6. Avoid spending long periods in a damp or wet area. When washing clothes, make sure your feet are well protected. Detergents break down the natural oils in the foot.
7. Soak your feet in hot water at least once a week as this will help increase blood circulation to your feet. You can add a tablespoon of fresh mint leaf juice to the water for the relief of dry cracked heels.
8. After a shower, apply some moisturizer to your heels as this will help seal in moisture and prevent cracking.
9. In addition to using natural methods and the best creams available on the market, you could also wear shoes that are specially designed for the treatment and repair of dry cracked heels.