A common problem that many people have is cracked heels. A study showed that as many as 20% of adults will experience skin that is cracked on their feet. However, it is not exclusive to adults only, children can experience this as well. But, for some reason, it seems that women are more often affected by it than men.
A lot of the time, it is not a serious issue to have cracked heels. It is usually only an annoyance when walking around barefoot and can cause some discomfort. But when the cracks in the heels become very deep, this will cause more pain. Beauty ‘N Fashion has come up with some handy dandy home remedies for the prevention and treatment of cracked heels.
Heavy Duty Moisturizers and Heel Balms
Heel balms are one of the first lines of treatment you should try when you discover that your heels are cracked. They have ingredients that will help to soften, exfoliate, and moisturize the dead skin. You will want to keep a look out for the following ingredients in these balms:
Heel balms are very easily accessible at any over the counter drug store or you can buy them online. Once you get a heel balm, to increase skin elasticity, make sure to apply it in the morning before you begin your day. Reapply moisturizer throughout the day, as many as three times per day. To be the most effective, make sure to wear heel protective shoes.
It is normal for some people to experience minor irritation or stinging when using some heel balms. If the balm triggers a severe reaction or it continuously bothers you, make sure to consult your doctor. If you have severely cracked heels, it is possible that you will require a steroid cream or prescription-strength balm in order to help reduce irritation, inflammation, or itching.
Soak, Soften, and Exfoliate
Cracks happen in the heels when the skin is allowed to build up, become thick, and hard. It often becomes drier than the rest of your foot, allowing cracks to eventually form from the pressure of walking. Soaking your feet and moisturizing right after is a good way to help.
Here is what we recommend:
Put lukewarm soapy water in the bathtub or a basin big enough for your feet. Let them sit and soak in the soap water for about 20 minutes. Next, take a pumice stone, foot scrubber, or a loofa and try to remove the thick, hard skin. Once you are done, pat your feet until they are dry. Now you can apply a thick moisturizer or your foot balm to your heels, or any other affected area on your feet. Lastly, put on some petroleum jelly over your foot. This will hold in the moisture and help to keep the skin soft. Now you can put on socks in order to avoid slipping and spreading everything around your floors.
Even though you might want to try scrubbing your feet then they are dry, avoid doing this because it will put you at risk for damaging your skin.
If you are busy and don’t have the time for this routine, moisturizing heel sleeves are your next best option. The effect is essentially the same as these socks allow your feet to soak in therapeutic vitamins and oils. If you have never seen or heard of these before, you can find them on Amazon.
To prevent further cracking or infections, you can use liquid bandages to seal the wound. Since this product is a spray and not an old-fashioned bandage, you are able to continue your day as normal without having to think or worry about a physical bandage potentially coming off. If you are looking to treat deep heel cracks, a liquid bandage is a good option.
When applying the liquid bandage, make sure that the area is clean and dry. When the cracks in your heels are healing, the bandage coating is pushed to the surface of the skin. You do not need a prescription to purchase this product. All you have to do is find it in your local drug store or online.
In extreme cases, there have been reports of people successfully using super glue to close deep cracks and allow healing. We are not recommending this tactic due to commercial super glue being toxic in some cases, depending on the brand used. If you feel you need to resort to extreme measures, make sure to consult your doctor before doing anything rash.
Honey has been used in medicine and healing for hundreds or even thousands of years. It is a natural remedy that you can use on your cracked heels. Since honey is an antibacterial and has antimicrobial properties, it makes it perfectly safe to use on your body and feet. Research has shown that using honey on wounds can help cleanse, heal, and moisturize skin. Honey is very versatile and can be used as a foot mask that you can leave on overnight or as a foot scrub.
When you have psoriasis, dry skin, or eczema, coconut oil is highly recommended as a topical remedy. It helps retain moisture in your skin. So, after a foot soak, use coconut oil as your moisturizer. It is also known to be an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory that is perfect for heels that are prone to infections or bleeding.
More Natural Remedies
There are so many remedies that you can use at home. Most, however, are not actually specifically proven to treat cracked heels. A lot of the ingredients are focused on softening and moisturizing the skin.
These Remedies include the following:
-Vinegar as a foot soak
-Mashed bananas as a moisturizer
-Shea butter as a moisturizer
-Vegetable or olive oil for moisturizing
-Paraffin wax in order to seal in the moisture
-Oil mixed with oatmeal as an exfoliation
If your cracked heels are a cause from a medical condition do not treat them on your own. There are special treatments that you can get from your podiatrist, if needed. If you have severely cracked heels, they should always be looked at by a podiatrist before you try any treatments, regardless of your previous medical history. Your foot doctor will be able to suggest the best course of action in how to treat your foot problem.
Causes for Cracked Heels
One of the first signs you will notice is having thick, dry skin on your heels. This is also known as callouses. These form around the edge of your heel. When you walk, as you step down, the bottom of your heel or the flat pad spreads out and expends. This is how the thick skin or calluses end up cracking.
Some other factors include:
-Standing around for long hours
-Having long and hot showers
-Walking around with open-backed sandals or barefoot
-Wearing shoes that don’t support your heels or that don’t fit properly
-Climate causing dry skin, like low humidity or cold temperatures
-Stripping your skin of natural oils by using harsh soaps
Drying out your feet can happen quicker if you do not regularly moisturize your feet.
Poor circulation and high blood sugar as a result of diabetes commonly cause dry skin. If you have nerve damage, this will prevent you from noticing if your feet are cracked, dry, or painful.
Other conditions include:
-Juvenile plantar dermatosis
-Palmoplantar keratoderma, which causes abnormal thickening of the skin on the soles of the feet
You may also experience these additional symptoms:
-Pain and possibly severe
-Red and inflamed skin
Certain severe cases can cause complications, especially when caused by a medical condition. These complications can include:
-Diabetic foot ulcer
-Loss of feeling to your heel
-Cellulitis, which is an infection
Infection symptoms include swelling, warmth, redness, and pain. If you notice these things, make sure to call your doctor immediately if you suspect you have an infection.
What you wear on your feet matters. Footwear is vitally important when trying to prevent your heels from becoming cracked. This is especially true if you are prone to cracked heels. You need to find shoes that properly fit your foot and have support for your heels. As much as possible, wear a wide heel, sturdy shoe that cushions and supports your heels.
Try to avoid the following:
-Open-back shoes, these typically do not provide support for your heels
-Shoes that are too small and tight
-Flip-flops, as well as sandals, these increases your risk of drying out your feet
-Tall, skinny heeled shoes, these make your heel expand sideways when walking
Other prevention methods:
-Wear clinically-tested padded socks or good quality socks
-Use thick foot cream before going to bed and lock in moisture by wearing socks
-Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids
-Avoid sitting with your legs crossed for extended periods of time or standing in the same position for too long
-Check your feet daily, this is especially important if you have diabetes or other conditions that cause dry skin
-When moisturizing your heels, wear silicone heel cups to lock in the moisturizer and help stop your heel from expanding then you walk
-Use orthotics to help cushion your heel as well as even out your weight distribution on your foot
-A couple times a week, use a pumice stone to prevent thick skin from forming on your heel. If you have diabetes or neuropathy, avoid removing calluses yourself. Doing so can cause a wound which will increase the risk of an infection.
How We Can Help
Most of the time, having cracked heels is not a cause for concern. There are many ways that you can treat this condition with home remedies or over the counter products. However, if you have severely cracked heels, you should first see a doctor before attempting any self-treatment. This is especially true if you have diabetes or other underlying medical conditions. Seeing a doctor will help to prevent any serious complications. Depending on the severity of your cracked feet, signs of improvement might take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The importance of proper foot care and footwear are imperative for during and after treatment in order to prevent this from happening again. We here at Beauty ‘N Fashion like to create these blogs to try and offer free advice for people to use. To read more of our Beauty Tips, check out our website! We also have Fashion and Lifestyle tips as well!
* Disclaimer: Beauty 'N Fashion provides general information only. Our aim is to provide the most accurate information possible, but we do not take responsibility for any errors or results.