Cracked heels or heel fissures are a common problem all over the world, and are a familiar sight in dry climates. For most people, it is just a mere inconvenience, but if left untreated, cracked heels can cause serious physical pain. If you have cracked heels and are finding it difficult to stand, walk, and/or to wear your favorite shoes, you will find all the information you need about this phenomenon in this article.
Cracked Heel Causes and Symptoms
Cracked heels do not appear overnight, and their development is a slow and gradual process that spans over several days and has several indicative symptoms. Identifying these symptoms can help you take the necessary precautions and timely preventive/remedial measures. The following symptoms can be detected days before you develop cracked heels:
Itchiness and Rash: If you are facing severe itching around your heels, and the itchiness turns into a rash with reddened skin, you are about to develop cracked heels.
Flaky and Peeling Skin: Flaky and peeling skin is a very common sign that you are about to develop heel fissures. The flakiness is not spread out equally and is of variable intensity in different parts of your heels.
Small Fissures: The development of small fissures on your heels is a common symptom, and these fissures tend to grow and expand to turn into larger cracks.
Hard Skin: If you touch your skin and it feels unusually hard around the edges of your heels, you are about to get some cracks.
Dry Skin: If you live in a dry climate and your heels receive little to no moisture, your skin will turn dry. Once dry, the skin is prone to itchiness, rashes, hardening, fissures, and cracks. Dry skin is the first symptom of cracked heels, and if you can detect it in its early stages and use proper remedies, you can avoid it.
Medical Causes: These include diabetes, athlete’s foot, omega-3 and zinc deficiencies, eczema, psoriasis, and thyroid disease.
Improper Footwear: Excessive use of footwear where the heels are exposed can cause cracked heels. The same goes for footwear that puts increased pressure on the heels or cuts off blood circulation to the heels. Footwear that does not fit properly causes a lot of damage to the heels and can cause heel cracks as well.
Standing for Long Hours: Some people have to stand throughout their work hours, and develop cracked heels irrespective of the season. Standing for long hours without a break can cause serious damage to the heels in the long run, and is a common cause behind heel fissures.
Improper Hygiene and Skincare: If you do not take proper care of your feet, do not moisturize them, and skincare is not important to you, then you might develop cracked heels.
Age: As we grow older, the ability of our body to heal itself becomes weaker. As a result, the small fissures in the heels are not healed as quickly as they used to, and are prone to grow in size. We also tend to lose moisture in our skin as we grow older, and the lack of moisture causes fissures.
Dry Conditions: If the humidity levels in your office and/or at home are low, if the soap you use does not moisturize your skin and causes dryness, and/or if you spend too much time in the sun; you will get dry skin and cracked heels.
Other causes of cracked heels include obesity, too many hot baths and showers, and extremely cold weather conditions.
Home Remedies to Cure Cracked Heels
Using natural remedies for cracked heels is a safe and effective way to take care of this problem. You can use home remedies even if you have not developed cracked heels just yet, but can see the symptoms. The biggest advantage of using home remedies is that there are no side effects, and the costs are minimal.
One of the most common home remedy is to apply vegetable oil after washing and scrubbing your feet with a pumice stone. Do it before you go to bed, so that the oil has plenty of time to be absorbed by your skin. Do it regularly and see the cracks disappear.
Another way to treat rough skin and cracked heels is to apply lemon juice to it. However, lemon has acidic properties and if you cracks run deep, it can cause irritation and pain. A safer way to do this is to avoid direct use of lemon juice, and to put your feet in warm water with lemon juice in it.
If Margosa leaves (also known as Indian Lilac) are easily available in your area, you can use them in combination with turmeric powder to cure your cracked heels. Acquire the leaves, crush them into a fine paste and add a couple of teaspoons of turmeric powder to the mix. Apply this paste to your heels and let it remain there for 30 minutes. Do this regularly for a few days and your heel cracks will disappear.
Other Tips to Treat Cracked Heels
Cracked heels can also be treated by using body lotions, moisturizing creams, rosewater and glycerin, vinegar, and ripe bananas. All these remedies have to be applied directly to that area. Prevent can be easily achieved by staying hydrated, taking better care of your health in general and your feet in particular, by using shoes that fit properly and by not applying excessive pressure on your heels. If possible, you should walk barefoot on grass early in the morning, but make sure that there are no thorns, insects etc. and that it is safe to do so.
Taking care of your feet is just as important as taking care of other parts of your body. Cracked heels not only look bad, they can also cause serious pain if they are not remedied in time. Make sure you detect the symptoms early on, and use preventive measures in dry weather. If you suffer from cracked heels, use one of the home remedies we have mentioned to treat your feet.