Cracked or heel fissure is a common foot problem, which occurs for a number of reasons. These are splits in the heel skin. For many people, this is just a mild problem but for sure. However, it is a nightmare for many women. Causes may range from insufficient moisture to walking barefooted. Read on to discover more about the causes, symptoms, home remedies for treating cracked heel and more
What causes cracked heels?
The causes are several. The can be mild or severe. It is very fortunate that cracked feet are a condition that can be easily managed at home and is nothing much to worry about. However, any symptom of heel fissure should not be taken lightly but instead, good medical intervention should be administered. See some of the most common causes of cracked skin on heels.
1. Lack of moisture/dry cracked feet
The common cause of extremely dry feet is winter weather. Dry skin more so the dry skin on the heels always result in fissures. If you live in cold climate, or frequently use hot shower or baths then you are prone to heel crack. This area host most of the sweat glands in your feet and change in climate may hinder their activity leading to rough heel and thus foot cracks. This problem can be controlled using aloe vera, cocoa butter, jojoba oil among other home remedies.
2. Increased weight or obesity
Increased weight can also sometimes cause cracks. When our bodies exerts pressure on the heel while walking or standing, the skin may need to stretch and spread a bit. And note this, if the heel is unable to stretch may be because the skin is dry and inflexible, it will definitely crack.
3. Skin conditions
Skin conditions such as eczema, diabetes, atopic dermatitis, palmoplantar keratoderma (causes abnormal skin thickening on the soles and palms) psoriasis and other skin conditions are always known to result to dry out, flaking, peeling and even cracking into the layers below the skin. In some parts of the body, the symptoms of such conditions may not be evident through cracking through in heel, it may be virtual.
Other disorders such as athlete’s foot and thyroid disease have also been connected or blamed for cracked feet. These conditions needs specific treatment depending on the causes and the severity of the symptoms.
4. Nutritional deficiency
Inadequate consumption of crucial vitamins and mineral can as well result to many skin conditions including foot cracks. Supplements of vitamins A, E, C and Omega-3 fatty acids are very vital for healthy and nourished skin. Lack of these ingredients in your diet can result to various skin disorders inclusive of heel cracks. Water and potassium are also as well significant in your diet. After being sure the nutritional deficiency is the trigger of your cracks, you may proceed to your nutritionist for further advice on better diet.
Despite of the fact that there are a number of causes resulting to cracked skin on heels, genetics are always not much considered. It I true that genetics can also contribute to the extremely dry feet that may crack. This may be a condition that many families pass down to their next generations. Many people are said to acquire this condition from their parents. You should check your family history if you suspect dry or you start to develop fissures. Though treatment for this condition may be difficult but there are remedies that can manage it.
6. Wrong footwear
“Many times, cracked heels are the result of walking in the wrong type of footwear, or wearing a pair of shoes that are too small or improperly fitted.” [dermalmedix.com]. some of the footwear that expose parts of your foot can also lead to the same menace. These comprise of sandals and all types of open shoes. Some of this footwear can also expose foot and even make the foot to slip off balance and thus aggravating the risk of developing this condition.
7. Aging and
As you age, your body will gradually limit the production of some vital hormones that are responsible for the maintenance of good skin (maintenance of skin elasticity and strength). Therefore, dry and thicker skin in older people in note a new movie, it is very common for sure. All these are responsible for the enhancing the risk of developing heel fissure.
8. Kidney disorder
Kidneys are body organs taking up the significant role of refining the waste products and other toxins from the body. With time, the functions of these organs may be hindered and this can result to buildup of waste products in the body leading to rough heel skin, itching and flaking. Factors that can trigger malfunction of kidney include genetics, bad diet among other factors.
Just as we had laid before, cracked feet has got many causes. They may involve something simple or a mild conditions, however, the cracks may also be a symptom of serious medical conditions. Here we give you more causes for heel fissure:
- Walking barefooted may also contribute to the fissures
- Hormonal Conditions (during puberty or pregnancy) such as thyroid or estrogen disparities
- Unhygienic conditions as well as fungal infections
- Long-standing at work or home, especially on hard floors may also result to heel fissure
- Dehydration, or not drinking enough water daily
- Soaking in a hot bath for too long or too frequently
- Using harsh, drying soaps on your feet
- Scrubbing feet dry
There are many symptoms that may occur alongside this problem with varying severity. The symptoms will basically depend on the causes, they may range from mild to moderate to severe as we have said earlier. Again, the linked symptoms may occur before, during or after heel cracking. Here, we highlight the common symptoms of heel cracks:
- Flaky heel skin
- Itching in the heels
- Pain with different levels of severity
- Red, inflamed heel skin
In very serious cases, severely cracked heels victims may develop complications alongside more so if the cause is severe medical conditions. Such complications may include:
- Infection through the fissures
- Diabetic foot ulcer
- Loss of sensation
- In case of infections, symptoms may include; redness, warmth, pain and swelling.
Though conditions can be managed at home, some may demand prompt doctor`s intervention. Whenever the severely cracked heels in accompanied by the above complications or if you just suspect you cannot handle the situation at home, please seek quick medical attention.
Home remedies for dry feet and cracked heels
There are many treatment options for cracked heels. They may involve over the counter treatments or prescribed treatments. Another effective and pocket-friendly medical options are the home treatment for this problem. In many cases, they can easily be managed at home using natural or home ingredients
In severe cases, medical treatment may be the better options but there will be some factors to consider. These may include a medical history of the patient, age and even the severity of the resultant symptoms.
Let us now explore some of the effective home remedies include.
1. Vegetable Oil like coconut oil
Many of the essential oils are very crucial for treating many skin conditions. Vegetable oil is one of them has got wonderful characteristic that can really be employed in cracked heel treatment. Oils from sesame, coconut, and other hydrogenated vegetable oil will perfectly work for you. Applications of vegetable oils to heal heel fissures is best if applied before greeting your bed. Here is how this remedy is applied:
- Begin by soaking your feet and then scrub the heel using a pumice stone
- Wash your feet and then dry them properly
- You can then apply the vegetable oil on this area and soles
- Put on a pair of clean socks and then leave the oil overnight
- Rewind the procedure for some few days until the cracks disappear
Lemon juice has got acidic property that can help in softening rough and dry skin that may crack and thus another best treatment for cracked heels. It also has got antibacterial property that will prevent the infections in the heel fissures. Here is how this remedy is applied:
- You need to soak your feet for 10-15 minutes in a lukewarm water containing lemon juice water. Remember hot water can lead to dry heel hence more problems.
- Scrub the heels using pumice stone
- Lastly, wash your feet and dry using a towel
3. Paraffin Wax Remedy
Paraffin wax is a natural emollient that helps in softening the skin. It is a very effective treatment for fissured and painful cracked heels. During application of this remedy, do not use hot wax and if you are diabetic patient, then you should not imagine about this treatment.
- To the paraffin wax, add mustard oil or coconut oil
- Heat the mix until the wax melts
- You should then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Apply the mixture on the affected area directly before going to bed.
- Wash it properly in the morning
- The procedure should be repeated once or twice in a week
4. Honey for cracked heels
Honey is a good natural antiseptic that usually good for sore cracked heel and also has soothing properties the help in making the skin healthy and nourished. Application of this ingredient should be done on a regular basis to rid of the cracked feet faster.
- Prepare honey and mix it in a bowl of warm water
- Soak your feet in the mixture for 15-20 minutes
- You can then scrub gently to obtain soft and smooth heel and feet
This is among the cheapest home ingredient that is very effective for heel cracks. This is due to its moisturizing properties. This is how it is applied:
- Begin by mashing a ripe banana in a very smooth paste.
- Wash your heels thoroughly and then apply the paste on them
- Let it rest for 10-15 minutes for it to be absorbed
- Wash your feet gently using warm water and then soak your feet in cold water for 5-10 minutes
- Repeat this procedure daily for some weeks to restore back the soft and smooth heels
6. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is another important remedy for sore cracked feet. It will keep your heels moisturized. It will also enhance the blood circulations resulting in healthy heels.
- To ½ cup of Epsom salt, add warm water and pour the mixture I a foot tub
- Soak your feet in the solution for 10 minutes
- You then need to scrub your feet using pumice stone and again soak your feet for 10 minutes
- Dry your feet and then apply cracked heel cream or petroleum jelly to lock in the moisture
- Put on socks to prevent evaporation of the moisture
7. Other Home Remedies
Apart from the above-explained home treatments, below are more remedies that can provide effective and quick results when used to treat heel fissure.
- Avocado Foot Mask
- Rice Flour
- Olive Oil
- Listerine Soak
- Baking Soda
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Aloe Vera
- Tea Tree Oil
- Pumice Stone
- Vitamin E Oil
- Shea Butter
Observing proper precautions can prevent you from developing fissures as well as preventing cracks from getting deeper and causing painful cracked heels or bleeding. They also say that “prevention is better than cure” and this is true. There are many approaches to prevent the development of foot cracks, follow this steps and reduce the risk of developing this problem.
- Make sure to get rid of toughest parts of calloused rough heels with either a pair of scissors or nail clippers
- Purchase additional insoles to reduce pressure on the heels
- Avoid ill-fitting footwear and also stop putting on open footwear regularly
- Moisturize them daily or regularly
- Always drink plenty amount of water daily
- Consult with your nutritionist for healthy diet
Cracked skin on heels always has no medical threat but should not be ignored. For instance, a persistent case isn’t just an interim nuisance. It can be very painful or can be a symptom of the severe veiled medical condition. Try the above home treatments and prevention tips but if the symptoms persist, consult your doctor for a prescription or other advanced treatment.