Cracked Heels: What Are The Causes And How To Treat Them

Written by Team BBMar 27, 2023
Cracked Heels: What are the Causes and How to Treat Them

Our feet withstand a lot of pressure throughout the day. As if our hard-working feet don’t hurt enough, some of us also have to deal with cracked heels. Fissures or cracked heels are a common foot condition that is caused when the skin is too dry or the fat pad on the heels expand because of the pressure. Cracked heels can sometimes become a nuisance if left untreated or unattended. Not only are they unattractive to look at, but can also cause pain and get infected if the cracks get deeper. Give that extra TLC with our home remedies for cracked heels. In this article, we will discuss what are the causes and Indian home remedies for cracked heels.


What Causes Cracked Heels?

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

1. Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot, also called, tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that develops usually between the toes and on the soles of the feet. Symptoms of athlete’s foot are itchy, dry and scaling skin. In more severe cases, inflammation, cracks or blisters may form. It’s called athlete’s foot because athletes commonly suffer from sweaty feet, and damp socks and shoes provide the perfect environment for fungal growth and infection. Other disorders like diabetes, psoriasis, thyroid and eczema can cause cracked heels. The best home remedy for cracked heels due to athlete’s foot is applying neem oil on the affected areas two to three times a day. The anti-fungal properties in neem can treat fungus.

2. Open Footwear

Open-back sandals allows fat under the heel to expand sideways and increase the possibility of cracks on your heels. Friction from the back of your shoes can make heel dry and cracking worse. Ill-fitting shoes can also contribute to the pain and heel cracking. Prolonged standing with wrong footwear can also worsen the cracks. Cracked heels in summer worsen as we choose to wear flip flops or other open shoes.

3. Lack of Moisture

This is the most common cause of cracked heels. The skin around the heels has relatively small number of sweat glands and lack elasticity, making it dry, rough and chapped. If you have naturally dry feet, then the cracked skin appears more easily. Weather also contributes to the problem. During winters, because the humidity levels are low, lack of hydration can leave the skin drier. Taking hot regular showers also dries out the skin.

4. Obesity

Being overweight or obese can increase the pressure on the fat pad under the heel. This leads the area to expand sideways and cause cracked heels. If the skin is not supple and lacks flexibility, there are higher changes that the pressure can lead to cracks.

Home Remedies to Treat Cracked Heels

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

1. Use a Thick Moisturiser

The easiest way to take care of your feet or heels, is by apply a foot cream or a moisturiser. It keeps the dry skin on the heels hydrated, nourished and locks in the moisture. It can protect your feet from cuts, cracks and calluses. Massaging your feet with a moisturiser also boosts blood circulation, and keeps your feet soft and supple. The best home remedy for dry cracked heels is a DIY foot cream. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in a pan. Add lavender essential oil once the butter melts. Cool it and massage your heels with this cream every night.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

2. Apply Petroleum Jelly

Use petroleum jelly as an overnight foot treatment or apply it after the shower. We recommend using Vaseline Skin Protecting Jelly. This versatile jelly is perfect to treat dry skin. It helps lock in natural moisture and oils that the skin needs. It also protects your skin from harsh weather conditions and the heels from drying effects of wind and cold.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

3. Use Heel Balms

Heels balms are designed to specifically target tough skin and cracked heels. Heel balms are packed with essential oils and exfoliating ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s). Exfoliation cleans the uppermost layers of skin, removes dead skin cells and promotes cell regrowth. Another essential ingredient in heel balms is urea. Urea is a humectant that is found in skincare products to target skin dryness. It also repairs and rejuvenates cracked skin by providing intense hydration to smooth the skin.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

4. Use Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is often recommended for dry skin. It helps in retaining the moisture and it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties heal cracked heels if they’re prone to bleeding and infections.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

5. Use Honey

Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties that aids in healing the cracked feet. It is also a natural humectant that helps restore and lock in the moisture, preventing the skin from drying. The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties also kills any kind of fungus and bacteria. You can add honey in your bath, massage your soaked feet for 20 minutes. Dry your feet and apply moisturiser.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

6. Shea Butter to Moisturise

Shea butter is anti-oxidant rich and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an excellent emollient as the oils in shea butter gets absorbed into the foot skin and creates a soft barrier that seals in the moisture. Anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing redness of dry, cracked feet. Shea butter also keeps your feet free from infections.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

7. Buff with Pumice Stone

Buffing with pumice stones exfoliate and remove the dead skin, that allows smoother application of moisturiser and better absorption into the skin. Pumice stones are lightly abrasive stones and formed from a mixture of lava and water. Soak your feet in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. Dry your feet. Wet the pumice stone and rub the abrasive side of it on the dry skin in circular motions using delicate pressure for about two minutes. Rinse and apply moisturiser to your heels. You can also make a DIY foot scrub to exfoliate the feet.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

8. Indulge in Foot Soaks

Foot soaks are an easy and inexpensive home remedy to fix cracked heels. A DIY foot soak helps treat sore muscles and dry skin and also promotes relaxation. For dry skin, fill up a bucket or your bath with warm water enough to submerge your ankles. Add a couple of table spoons of oil such as coconut and oatmeal (optional). Soak the feet for 10 to 15 minutes. Foot soaks also soften the skin, making exfoliation easy using a scrub or pumice stone.

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

9. The Paraffin Wax Fix

Paraffin wax is often used in spas for pedicure treatments. It is used to soften skin, heal dry and cracked heels. The warm melted wax when applied traps the body heat and promotes blood circulation which will soften the skin. The trapped heat will also increase moisture and help prevents cracked heels due to moisture loss of the skin. A layer of wax is applied and covered with a plastic bag or a cling wrap for about 30 minutes. This procedure will accelerate and strengthen the healing properties of the wax.

FAQs about Cracked Heels: Causes and How to Treat Them

Q1. What can happen if cracked heels are ignored?

A. The cracks could deepen resulting in pain and bleeding. You can also develop infection because deep cracks become an open wound. Deep cracks can also lead to diabetic foot ulcers, if you’re diabetic.

Q2. Can cracked heels cause any complications?

A. If ignored, mild heel cracks can get deeper and painful. Other complications include burning sensation, difficulty in walking or standing for prolonged hours.

Q3. How to prevent cracked heels?

A. Hydration is the key. Drinking plenty of water will keep your body and feet hydrated. Always apply a foot cream or a moisturiser before going to bed. Maintain hygiene by washing your foot and wearing clean socks and shoes.

Q4. Can diet affect cracked heels?

A. Vitamin deficiency can cause dry and cracked heels but it is not a major concern. It can be treated through the intake of foods rich in vitamins.

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