Are you battling cracked heels that won’t let you lead an everyday life? You’re not alone, and cracked heels are one of the common skin conditions in the United States.
This is purely a cosmetic problem and might not cause severe problems for some. But if your cracked heels cause pain, don’t ignore them. Constant pressure while walking or standing will slowly deepen and worsen the cracks, and that will leave them to bleed, get infected, and you’ll no longer walk comfortably. Wearing shoes might become impossible too.
You don’t want all these problems, do you?
The good news is that you can treat mild cases of cracked heels right in your home.
What Are Cracked Heels?
Cracked heels, also called heel fissures, are a common foot problem. If the skin on your heels becomes too dry, it will lose elasticity and form cracks. This results in thickened skin and yellow or brown calluses around the edge of your feet. They can easily tear your socks and wear your shoes quickly.
How Do You Get Cracked Heels?
One of the main causes of cracked heels or heel fissures is when the skin at the bottom of your feet gets dry and chapped. When there is insufficient moisture on your skin, it becomes crusty and small cracks can form.
During winter, cold temperatures make you prone to dry skin due to low humidity levels. Lack of proper hydration at this time will leave your skin rough and dry.
Medical conditions like diabetes, psoriasis, and eczema can also cause cracked skin. Additionally, patients with thyroid problems often have inactive sweat glands, which give them dry skin, making their heels susceptible to cracking.
Typically, the cracks will be unnoticeable at first, and over time, they’ll get bigger and deeper if not treated. For people with diabetes, open wounds can cause diabetic foot ulcers.
If your lifestyle demands being on your feet for long hours, it might put undue pressure on your heels. If the skin is already dry, your heels will crack. Athletes and joggers will easily suffer from this condition.
Besides, the skin on your feet will naturally become drier and thinner as you age, and this predisposes them to crack and split.
Other causes of cracked heels include:
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Walking barefoot for extended periods
- Failure to take enough water
- Using harsh soaps
- Taking hot baths or showers
What Can Be Done To Heal Cracked Heels?
Deep heel cracks can cause pain and make it challenging to be on your feet. Fortunately, cracked heels can go away.
If your job profile requires you to stand for too long, ensure your footwear has enough cushioning to decrease pressure on your heel pads. Whenever possible, avoid open-back sandals.
The open-back in sandals allows the fat under your heels to expand and increases the risk of cracking. Avoid walking barefoot as it can cause dirt to accumulate on your feet and cause excessive drying.
If you’ve already developed the cracks, here are a few ideas to help restore your heels and control damage in mild cases.
Ensure you give your feet a treat every day at bedtime. Soak your feet in lukewarm water first for up to 20 minutes. Avoid rubbing – use a towel to pat them dry. Apply some petroleum jelly and put on a pair of socks. This will lock in the moisture and help the moisturizer to work.
Wearing good quality socks, preferably 100% cotton, ensures the skin can breathe as it heals. The cotton socks will also prevent your bedding from getting stained.
Moisturizing your skin is an excellent remedy for cracked heels. The best time to apply moisturizers is after taking a bath or shower when the skin is still damp and hydrated. The right moisturizer will trap moisture in the skin and increase its elasticity.
During the winter months, your skin tends to dry more. Taking extra care will protect your feet. You might need to moisturize several times a day to prevent your skin from drying out and cracking.
Some over-the-counter moisturizers contain ingredients like salicylic acid and urea that help exfoliate and soften your skin. These agents might cause some stinging or irritation, but they will help remove dead skin on your heels.
Use Pumice Stones
A pumice stone is a kind of rock that you can use to smoothen calluses and rough skin on your heels. Once you moisturize the skin, removing the thick hard calluses is easier. Gently rub the calluses with a pumice stone to remove and exfoliate dead skin.
Removing the hard skin makes it easier for you to apply the moisturizer. Be careful not to overuse the pumice stone since it can aggravate the problem. Rub lightly in one direction so you don’t tear your skin.
Avoid using sharp objects like razor blades and scalpels to cut the thick skin. Those with neuropathy and diabetes should only use pumice stones if the doctor tells them to.
Final Thoughts on Cracked Heels
Wearing socks, using moisturizers, and using pumice are some of the best remedies for cracked heels. Once you notice the cracks forming, you need to act fast. If left unattended, they can deepen and become infected, leading to more complications.
If your feet are prone to drying, maintaining healthy behavior is crucial to prevent cracked heels. The right preventative measures will reduce the chances of reoccurring. Be sure to wear well-fitting shoes, maintain feet hygiene, and stay hydrated.
Talk to our team today if you’re still experiencing intense swelling, redness, or soreness. This is especially important if you have any condition that compromises your immunity, like diabetes. Our team will assess your problem and choose a personalized treatment for you.