Dry and cracked heels are one of the most common foot problems. These can occur in both adults and even children. However, they seem to affect women more than men.
Most people who have dry and cracked heels don’t feel anything serious. However, it can cause discomfort when going barefoot. But if taken for granted, it may become very deep and cause pain in the long run.
What are the causes of dry, cracked heels?
Dry heels may have no known cause because there are people who have naturally dry skin and feet. Your feet may have dry skin if they are always exposed to extreme hot or cold weather. Drier skin also means more peeling and cracking which can cause wounds that can easily get infected if not treated.
According to dermatologists, another possible cause of dry heels can happen when there is a disruption of your skin barrier. It can be from medical conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. But another variable that can contribute to this condition is ageing. As your skin gets thinner, the less elastic it can become, the possibility to have dry skin which leads to dry heels.
On the other hand, the first sign of having cracked heels is when the area is showing dry, thickened skin also known as callouses, around the rim of your heel. When you walk, the fat pad under the heel expands which causes your callouses to crack.
Other factors of having cracked heels include: standing for long hours, using harsh soaps, walking barefoot, tight-fitting shoes, and climate.
How do you treat cracked and dry heels?
There are different ways to treat this condition. For starters, you can try using a heel balm. It has ingredients that can help moisturise, soften, and exfoliate dead skin. Choose those that have salicylic acid, urea, saccharide isomerate, and alpha-hydroxy acids. Heel balms are available over the counter or in physical drug stores or online.
A liquid bandage can also help by applying it to the cracks and sealing the wound to prevent infections or further cracking. It comes as a spray and is a good option for treating deep heel cracks that are prone to bleeding.
Aside from medication, DIY foot soak is an inexpensive way to soothe your feet at home. It may help treat sore muscles as well as dry, cracked heels. The good thing about foot soaks, you can add natural ingredients to help ease and repair your dry and cracked heels.
DIY Foot soaks with natural ingredients
If you happen to have sensitive skin, then it is a good idea to create your DIY foot soak with these natural ingredients:
- Coconut oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
- Essential Oils
- Epsom salt
- Baking soda
And here are some ways to add or combine them:
With coconut oil
Apply an oatmeal scrub first then leave for a few minutes. Create a foot soak with coconut oil by adding a few drops of coconut oil in a foot soak with warm water then stir. Soak your feet for about 10-15 minutes then pat dry your feet with a clean towel. This will help moisturise your feet and prevent them from having cracks.
With Epsom Salt
You will need ½ cup of Epsom salt, 3-6 drops of essential oil of choice, and a tbsp of carrier oil if you will add essential oils. Add the Epsom salt to your foot bath and stir well to dissolve. Mix a carrier oil in a separate bowl then add the essential oil of your choice. Soak your feet for about 20 minutes then pat dry your feet using a clean towel. This can also help in soothing achy feet and sore muscles.
With baking soda
Prepare lukewarm water and ¼ cup of baking soda. Stir the water until baking soda is dissolved. Place your feet in the water and soak for about 10-15 minutes. Pat dry feet with a clean towel. Don’t scrub or rub the skin during the foot bath to avoid irritation.
This foot soak helps people who have itchy feet or eczema.
You will need a cup of ACV or apple cider vinegar, ½ cup of Epsom salt, sea salt, or sugar, add a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil. To prepare: add the ACV to the water and stir. Mix equal parts of oil and salt together in a bowl then set aside. Soak your feet for about 5-10 minutes then use the salt mixture to scrub your feet using a foot file or pumice stone. Rinse your feet with clean, fresh water then towel dry.
This foot soak helps in softening the skin which makes it easier to exfoliate dead skin cells using the stone or scrub.
With essential oils
For your ingredient lists: 4 drops of tea tree oil, 2 drops of lemon essential oil, a tbsp of carrier oil like jojoba oil or coconut oil, and ¼ cup of baking soda. Mix your carrier oil with the essential oil of your choice in a bowl. Add all the ingredients to your foot bath. Soak your feet for about 15 minutes then pat dry.
This foot soak may also serve as an antifungal solution for some skin irritation and prevent the growth of fungal infection in your toes and nails.
DIY foot soaks are alternative ways not just to keep you relaxed but soothe tired and aching muscles. They can also be an easy way to care for your feet at home and may help with some conditions such as dry and cracked heels.
However, they do not substitute medical treatments. If symptoms persist, speak and consult with your doctor for further medical evaluation and treatment.