Dry cracked heels, known as heel fissures in medical terms are not only an eye sore and a source of embarrassment but can be extremely painful when the cuts are deep. If neglected, the skin begins to bleed which can lead to serious infection.
Despite being a very common foot problem, ironically knowledge about its triggers is uncommon. Splitting of heels is caused by insufficient moisture and excessively dry skin. Though the problem gets aggravated in winter, it can plague you throughout the year.
The condition is caused by factors like chilly weather, dehydration, insufficient moisture, careless foot care regime, an unhealthy diet, wearing wrong footwear, harsh soaps and sometimes even long hot baths. The best way to tackle the problem is to get rid of the dead layers as soon as they appear, before the skin becomes hard and the damage is beyond repair. The good news is there are many simple home remedies that work wonders.
We at MedGuru offer a few measures that will give you beautiful crack free heels if followed on a regular basis.
Soak & Exfoliate
Soak your feet daily in a warm soapy water to soften the cracks. You can try adding ¼ cup of white vinegar to the foot bath as the mild acetic acid in vinegar makes dry skin supple. Use a wash cloth, pumice stone, an exfoliating scrub or a loofah to scrub off dead skin to smoothen the heels. Make sure that you do this gently as vigorous rubbing can lead to bleeding. Rinse feet and then dry with a soft cotton towel.
Oatmeal & Jojoba Oil
Both these products have moisturizing properties. Make a thick paste using powdered oatmeal and some jojoba oil. Apply the mixture to the feet concentrating on the cracked areas. Keep it on your feet for a half of an hour, then rinse with cold water and pat dry. Repeat this procedure daily for best results.
Puree the pulp of a banana and apply a thin layer on the dry or cracked area of the heel. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it clean with lukewarm water. Dry thoroughly and moisturize. This simple remedy done once a week prevents and also treats dry heels.
Petroleum Jelly aka Vaseline also works wonders in treating cracked feet. Apart from filing cracks and soothing inflamed skin Vaseline also acts as an effective shield against the cold dry air. Before retiring apply a layer of Vaseline to clean feet liberally. Pull on some cotton socks and keep them on throughout the night. Your feet will slippery smooth in the morning.
After soaking and scrubbing the dry skin cells from your feet, melt paraffin wax along with a little mustard or coconut oil. Apply this to the affected area of your heels and put on clean socks. Leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning. Repeat this for a fortnight for soft and supple heels.
Olive oil, Vinegar & Lime
Another overnight treatment is to rub some olive oil mixed with white vinegar or lemon juice over the feet, focusing on the heels. You can also add honey which is a natural moisturizer. Put on cotton socks. Wash it off in the morning and then exfoliate with a foot file. Dry thoroughly and slather lotion. Remember to let your feet absorb the moisture before you put on your footwear.
Want a sweet cure for cracked heels? Combine four tablespoons of sugar with some oil (olive, coconut, jojoba, almond just any oil). Massage the scrub in circulation motion into the heels of feet.
Foot Massage & Pedicures
Pamper your feet by going for foot massages and pedicure at regular intervals as it will keep your feet soft, hydrated, and crack-free.
Edited by Neelam Goswami on 29-03-2014.