Cracked heels are one of the most common skin problems among people. It is one of the worst nightmares women could dream. Heel fissures or cracked heels are a common foot condition that may be an outcome of the number of reasons. In any case, these cracks in the heels are unsightly and painful.
The respective article discusses some simple life hacks for treating cracked heels by natural means.
What causes cracks in your heels?
Dry, thick, calloused skin around the rim of your heels is a common characteristic of cracked heels. The cracks in the heels are discomforting and painful and if they grow deep, your heels can bleed too.
The National Foot Health Assessment in 2012 reports that around 20 percent of the adults in the United States experience cracked skin on their feet. Women, in particular, were 50 percent more susceptible to the condition than men.
The skin around your feet isn’t supplied with any of the oil glands in your body. This causes the skin to grow dry and thick. Moreover, the lack of moisture, pollution, and conditions like eczema, diabetes, thyroid, and psoriasis contribute to the formation of callouses. As the person walks, the padded foot causes heels to expand and callouses to crack. This results in cracked heels.
In addition, walking barefoot, unfit shoes, standing for long hours, harsh soaps that can strip your skin of natural oils, dry skin, cold temperatures or low humidity also add to the situation.
There are various medical conditions that cause cracked heels. These include high blood sugar and poor circulation resulting from diabetes. Moreover, nerve damage may also cause dry, cracked, and painful heels.
Most importantly, the deficiency of vitamins, fungal infections, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, and palmoplantar keratoderma cause abnormal thickening of skin especially that of soles and palms.
Obesity, aging can also promote crack heels. Heels crack during pregnancy as well.
How to treat cracked heels naturally?
Cracked heels are absolutely treatable. You can get rid of those painful cracks easily using some simple, convenient, and remedial measures at home.
Cracked heels are a common outcome of dry, un-moisturized skin. Keeping your feet, especially the heels, moisturized can be the foremost relief to cracked heels. Following are some simple life hacks you can employ for smoother, less painful, and crack free heels.
Keep a check on your diet
A diet deficient in zinc, vitamin D3, and omega-3 fatty acids can promptly cause a crack in your heels. You must take an adequate amount of these nutrients in your diet to fix those heel fissures.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy cardiovascular system. They are equally crucial for your skin too. Good fats strengthen the cell membranes of the skin cells. They improve the immune and defense system against external infections and toxins. Fish meat like mackerel, tuna, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax, Chia, Perilla, Lingonberry, and, Portulaca serve as vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Our body can synthesize vitamin D3 upon exposure to the sun. It is also called “the sunshine vitamin.” Vitamin D fights crack heels efficiently. It is necessary for the absorption of several nutrients in the intestines. Vitamin D or cholecalciferol is a fat-soluble compound. Sun is one of the best sources of obtaining a plenty of Vitamin D. Fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, and some vitamin-fortified foods serve as dietary supplements for Vitamin D.
Zinc, being a crucial mineral, works for various metabolic processes inside your body. It carries out numerous enzymatic reactions in your body. Protein synthesis, gene expression, apoptosis, and carbon dioxide regulation in the blood are common examples of these reactions. Oysters, beef, and crabs are rich in zinc. In addition, beans, nuts, yogurt, and cereals also provide an adequate amount of zinc to the living body.
Wear better fitting shoes
Proper fitting footwear is vital for healthy heels. Shoes or sandals offer friction between heels and soles. Tight or unfit shoes offer greater friction. Excessive friction causes the formation of calluses which lead to infections and cracks. When you buy shoes, make sure they fit you right and are not too lose, not too tight. It will not only keep your feet healthy but also help you with your daily work and activities.
Moisturize your feet regularly
Cracked heels are a result of dry, dead skin cells. These cells when run out of moisture die. You can moisturize them using some simple home-made scrubs or moisturizers. These scrubs or moisturizers employ usual organic, homely ingredients. Some of the efficient home-made moisturizers and their recipes are as follow,
- Mix five parts of ground rice or coarse rice flour with one part honey. Add one/two parts of apple cider vinegar. Add almond or olive oil for a consistent viscosity until a thick paste forms. This forms an exfoliating foot scrub. You can apply the scrub to the calluses after a bath or shower. This removes calluses efficiently reducing the severity of the cracked heels.
- Warm water fortified with a half cup of apple cider vinegar also serves to moisturize your feet. You can soak your feet in it for ten minutes and then use a foot scrub for a similar effect.
- You can also make moisturizers out of fresh fruits. Fruits like bananas, papayas, pineapple, and avocados have natural enzymes in them that can help to remove dead skin, fight fungal infections, and heal your heels. You can slice or mash any of these fruits and rub the exposed flesh onto the damaged skin. You can also create a healing foot mask using a combination of these fruits with almond, olive, jojoba, or coconut oils.
- Petroleum jelly or simple massage using coconut oil can also bring desired results. The fatty acids in coconut oil have anti-microbial properties. They soothe irritation caused by infections in cracked heels.
Home remedies for cracked heels
Here are some home-based remedies for treating cracked heels. They employ natural, organic ingredients that pose no harmful effects on your body and are potent enough to bring desired results.
Lemon and Olive oil
Alpha-hydroxy citrate present in lemon juice can render your dry, dead skin lively. It breaks the molecular bonds between dead and live cells and removes calluses efficiently. To serve the purpose, you can rub the fleshy inside of a fresh lemon rind on the damaged areas. A foot moisturizer can be prepared with lemon juice and olive oil. Rub the mixture onto your heels and allow the lemon and oil to soak in overnight. Wool socks can be used to seal the moisturizer while sleeping.
Tea tree oil treatment
Tea tree oil is a multifunctional and an incredibly useful dermatological ailment including fungal and microbial infections of the skin. All you have to do is to apply tea tree oil to the heel fissures at night before bed. Note, avoid its contact around the raw skin and open wounds.
Honey is one of the most common, natural antiseptic that heals your cracks and revitalizes your skin. It is a simple treatment. You just have to add honey in warm water and soak your feet in it. You can do this daily without fearing any kind of side effects. Scrub off your heels gently after the treatment.
Banana and Avocado foot mask
Bananas and Avocados are rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential oils. They repair the dry and dead skin cells making your skin softer. Blend a banana and half of an avocado together. Apply this thick, creamy paste to your heels and feet. You can keep this mask for about 15 minutes. Wash your feet with lukewarm water afterward. You can do this daily until your heels go soft. As an alternative, the banana peel can also be rubbed on cracked heels. It also renders your skin smooth.
Paraffin wax is a natural emollient which softens your skin, stripping of the dead skin cells. You can also use paraffin wax for your cracked heels. For this purpose, mix some paraffin wax in coconut oil. Heat the mixture until the wax melts. Allow it to cool at room temperature. Wear a pair of socks and wash it in the morning. You can do this once or twice a week. Note, diabetic patients are prohibited to try this mixture.
All these remedies or hacks employ routine and accessible ingredients. You just need to put in a little effort and then you can flaunt your favorite heels at every occasion.