One of the common issue during winter we face is cracked heels. Cracked heel affects more women than men. Cracks in heel sometimes can be painful and cause discomfort if we walk barefoot. If it is a deep crack then dust particles that enter the cracks can cause more harm and pain.
What causes crack in heels?
The sensitive skin in the heel when cannot take more various forms of stress load, starts splitting leaving small to longer cracks in the feet. It can start at back in heel and might extend to the other side of feet.
Reasons for heel crack:
Apart from poor hygiene, deficiency of nutrients (vitamins, zinc in diet), mental stress, aging skin, conditions like athlete’s foot, eczema, thyroid, diabetes etc, obesity, improper shoes, exposing to foot to water for longer hours and hereditary factors like naturally dry skin causes crack in heels.
How to treat cracks?
- Using heel balm or cream is one of the best option : These balms must contain exfoliating agent, moisturizing agent and should help in softening the tissue. Creams that use keratolytic and humectant agents are better. These creams will have Urea, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids and saccharide isomerate as active compounds. One should look at the ingredient list to make sure any of these compounds are present in the balm. Applying the balm before start of the end and before going to bed, 2 to 3 times a day helps to heel crack fast.
- Wear proper shoe: Use covered shoes and make sure you wear fresh socks. At home if you don’t wear shoe, don’t forget to wear socks to keep foot warm.
- Soaking feet: Soak feet in lukewarm water. Use a scrubber or pumice stone and rub feet slowly to remove hard and dry skin. Gently pat feet to dry and apply heel balm or moisturizer that keeps feet protected.
- Petroleum jelly: Apply petroleum jelly and wear socks to keep the moisturizer intact.
- Epsom salt: Soak feet in Epsom salt water for half an hour and using pumice stone scrub the feet.
- Applying moisturizer – That contain Vitamin B3 and blends of oils that help to cure skin conditions.
- Nutrition: Consume vitamin E and vitamin C rich food. Vitamin E naturally helps skin to heel.
- Preventing infection: Use liquid bandage to cover the cracked heels. These bandages come in spray and helps to seal the wound. This prevents any infection and further cracking.
- Custom orthotics: Also known as insoles are shoe inserts that help in redistributing pressure abnormalities in the foot and helps to heal the cracks.
- Coconut oil: Applying coconut oil helps in retaining moisture in the foot. After applying coconut oil, soak for an hour or two. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial property. It prevents bleeding from the cracks too, thus prevents infection.
- Honey: Honey has both antimicrobial property and is a natural cure for wounds. Applying honey can help heal wounds and keeps moisturizer intact in the skin. Apply honey and soak the foot for few minutes and wash using lukewarm water.
- Vinegar, olive oil, castor oil, shea butter, oat meal mixed with coconut oil, mashed ripe banana paste – these are other types of natural remedies for cracks. All these helps to soften the skin and keeps moisture intact in foot.
If you have any medical condition, before using any of the natural remedies consult your doctor. If the cracks are severe, better to talk to your doctor and get recommendation. You may need to consult podiatrist if the cracks are not healing for months.