Cracked heels are a sign of lack of attention to foot care rather than just overexposure or lack of moisturizing. Medically, cracked heels are also known as heel fissures. Fissures are regular linear cut wounds and mostly affect the surface level of the skin or the epidermis. Sometimes they may reach deep into the dermis and become painful.
Excessive pressure on the feet pads make the feet want to expand sideways. As the skin surrounding the sides of the feet becomes dry it cracks and cause cracked heels. Cracked heels may also indicate zinc and/or omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies.
Dry skin is the most common cause of cracked heels. Another common cause is thick or callused skin being allowed to form around the rim of the heel.
Cracked heels are a common occurrence for the elderly, and people who are constantly on their feet throughout the day, thus exerting pressure on the feet pad. It can affect either heel or both, the latter being most common.
Most common symptoms of dry, cracked heels and feet
Signs and symptoms that surface on the skin are simple indicators of faulty internal activity or external abuse. Our feet need attention, and when they don’t get it, they will call for it!
The most common symptoms of dry, cracked heels and feet include flaky patches of skin, peeling and cracked skin, and itchy skin.
Most common causes of cracked heels
-Excessive foot activity will affect the naturally thick dry skin (callus) around the heel;
-Prolonged standing at work or at home. Walking or standing on hard floors may also impact on the feet.
-Being overweight may increase the pressure on the normal fat pad under the heel, causing it to expand sideways; if the skin lacks flexibility the pressure on the feet lead to cracked heels.
-Open-backed sandals or shoes allow the fat under the heel to expand sideways and increase the possibility of cracks on the heels.
-Diseases and Disorders -Athlete’s foot, Psoriasis, Eczema, Thyroid disease, Diabetes and some skin conditions may lead to cracked heels.
-Unhealthy, dry scaly skin due to climate change
-Deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and zinc
Natural cures for your feet and heels
Home remedies have some of the best cost effective and result oriented solutions one can try and experiment with. But it is important to note that when home remedies do not cure cracked heels it is wise to take an appointment with your general physician.
Here is a compilation of the best known remedies to treat cracked heels:
1) Wash your feet carefully with warm water and soap, ensuring that they are squeaky clean; then apply a thick coat of any shortening or vegetable oil on the dry and cracked areas.
After waiting for the oil to be absorbed into the skin, until it is only slightly oily, wear a pair of thick socks (ensure that they are of a texture that will permit the residue of oil to be easily washed out).
Leaving this application overnight will provide positive results in few days.
2) Apply the pulp of a ripe banana on the dry or cracked area of the heel. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse it clean.
3) Soak the feet in lemon juice for about 10 minutes. Follow this therapy on a weekly basis, until you can see a change.
4) Soaking you feet in a basin of plain tea not only reinvigorates the feet, but drains the tiredness out of them for you!
Finally, a daily regime of cleaning and moisturizing the feet is an excellent cure for dry or cracked heels. At the end of the day, soak the feet in warm soapy water for no more than 15 minutes. Rinse feet and pat dry. Make a healing mixture out of: one teaspoon Vaseline and the juice of one lemon. Rub this mixture onto the cracked heels and other required areas of the feet till it is thoroughly absorbed. Continue to do this daily, until visible results are obtained.