Cracked heels usually occur when the sensitive skin at the bottom of the feet becomes dried-up. If you are having troubles with cracked heels, find out the common reasons behind it and how you can accelerate the healing process and cure your heels.
Dry skin plays the major role in cracked heels condition. Dryness can render the skin split open leading to the formation of painful cracks around the heels called fissures. The cracks can be painful, sometimes making it difficult for the person to walk. Although the condition may not always be serious, in some cases severely cracked heels can lead to infections as well.
Cracked heels are one of the most common foot problems and something that almost everyone experiences at least once in their lifetime. According to the National Foot Health Assessment Survey – almost 20% of the US adults experience this foot condition. It can occur in children and adults too, but it is more common among women than men.
What causes cracked heels?
The underlying cause behind this foot condition is the lack of moisture in the skin. Excessive drying up can even cause bleeding and make the heel area sore.
Although there is a spectrum of reasons behind cracked heels, here are some of the most common ones:
- Chilly winter weather
- Not drinking enough amount of water
- Soaking feet in hot water for prolonged periods or doing so often
- Use of harsh soaps
- Scrubbing the feet harshly
- Not moisturizing the feet regularly
One can compare the mechanism of drying up of the heels to covering-up a balloon with plaster and then blowing it up leaving the plaster expanded and cracked. The same way, skin around the heel wants to expand, but it has to be pliable enough to go with the expansion. Since it lacks moisture, it starts to crack instead of expanding.
How to heal cracked heels
Although you can easily cure cracked heels using some home remedies and lotions, if the condition doesn’t improve, then you should consult a podiatrist.
The best way to heal dry cracked heels is to drink plenty of water so that the skin can lock moisture and avoid cracking up in the first place. Also, applying lotions before going to bed at night is also a good fix for the problem. Use a good lotion and indulge yourself in foot pampering. Avoid taking long hot showers since hot water can steal all the moisture from the skin. It accelerates the process of skin drying.
The best crack heel remedy – Shea butter
Shea butter is known for its excellent skin moisturizing property. It is perfect for nourishing the skin and keeping it hydrated. The healing properties of shea butter can improve various skin conditions that are a result of dryness including cracked heels. It is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E (the beauty vitamin).
How to use Shea butter for curing cracked heels
You will need 1-2 tbsp of organic shea butter and a pair of socks. Start by applying the butter on your feet and massaging the heels for about two minutes. Massaging will help the butter to get absorbed by the skin easily.
Cover your feet with socks and leave it with the socks on. With regular care and pampering, you will start noticing the signs of healing and improving within a week or two. If the heels are slightly cracked, you will start to observe the changes quickly. However, it may take longer time for any visible signs of improvements to show if you have conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Hormonal imbalance or diabetes can also elongate the recovery period.
To accelerate the healing process, always keep the feet well-moisturized. Indulge in regular foot massages (particularly those involving application of essential oils) and pedicures. Do not expose your feet to pollution or the sun.
If you are suffering from skin conditions, seek medical treatment as they may also be contributing towards the cracking of the heels. If you are overweight, try to lose some weight as the too much pressure on the feet can also cause the skin to expand and crack.