Do you have cracked heels? They are painful fissures in your heel that make it difficult to walk. The common foot condition occurs when the skin on your feet starts to dry out and thicken. Yellow and brown calluses on the foot’s sole can also lead to cracked heels. In this article, we will explore how to fix your cracked heels.
On rare occasions, you might not feel any pain or discomfort with cracked heels but be embarrassed of their appearance. Many people will shy away from wearing sandals or walking barefoot because they feel like their feet look ugly from the severe cracking.
In the United States, the Nation Foot Health Assessment reported in 2012 that 20 percent of all adults have some level of cracking on their feet. Heel cracking is more common in women than in men. In fact, the same report found that women are 50 percent more likely to have the condition compared to their male counterparts.
Cracks that are deep become exceptionally painful. Many people with heel cracking cannot stand for long periods of time or walk extremely far. In severe cases, the cracks can start to bleed and may even become infected.
Any time you feel pain from heel cracks, redness develops, bleeding occurs, or the area swells, you should seek medical care. In this article, we will focus on remedies for cracked heels.
You’ll find a bevy of lotions, creams, and ointments at the supermarket and drug store that are reputed to moisturize the skin. All the formulas help to retain moisture in the skin. They function by preventing the skin from drying out, which is what leads to the cracking. Moisturizing can also help ease severe cracking.
If you have cracked heels, you should apply moisturizer at least two to three times per day to try to fix the fissures and prevent new ones from developing. You can also rub any calluses using a pumice stone before applying the moisturizer for better absorbency.
Do not use the pumice stone too much or it can make your feet sore and cause the cracks to worsen.
6. Emollients and Humectants
Emollients could penetrate the skin and significantly reduce water loss. The emollients fill in the fissures and smooth gaps where the skin is flaking. Your skin will feel smooth and much more flexible. In addition, the water loss in your skin is greatly reduced.
Humectants work by penetrating the skin’s outer layer and then pulling in water from the atmosphere. In addition, they can increase your skin’s capacity to hold water.
In dry, arid regions, the humectants may draw moisture from the lower layers of skin and could cause more dehydration. You should only use a humectant in a humid climate.
5. Occlusive Moisturizer
An occlusive moisturizer coats the skin in a very thin film and helps stop moisture from evaporating from your skin’s surface. Occlusive moisturizers include:
- Mineral oil
- Petroleum jelly
Without a doubt, petroleum jelly is considered the most effective occlusive choice. It is reputed to reduce water loss by as much as 98 percent, which makes it ideal for cracked heels.
The main problem with occlusive moisturizers is that their thick consistency makes them messy and sticky. They can get on your clothes, carpets, socks, and shoes.
4. Wear Socks
You can wear cotton socks to bed to try to reduce moisture loss and protect your cracked heels. Also, use petroleum jelly under the socks to help moisturize the area. If you perform this routine every night at bed, then your cracked heels should show improvement within a few days.
When your heel skin starts to thicken, you can apply keratolytic to thin the thickening and loosen the outer skin layer. It will help to remove dead skin cells and create a softer surface. When the heel skin is thick, applying a keratolytic may help thin it, as well as the other treatments. The best keratolytic are:
- Alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid or lactic acid)
- Salicylic acid
You can often find products that contain both keratolytic and humectants, which work to moisturize and remove the thickened and cracking heel skin.Related: What Your Face Is Telling You: 10 Signs of Health Problems Written on Your Face
2. Pumice Stone
As mentioned, rubbing your cracked heels with a pumice stone removes dead skin cells and reduces the thickened layer. You can then apply moisturizer. However, great care must be taken when using a pumice stone or you could worsen the condition.
Never use razors or scissors to cut the thickened skin or scrape it. Also, if you have diabetes, you should avoid using a pumice stone on your cracked heels. Instead, make an appointment to see a podiatrist or dermatologist to treat the condition.
1. Apply a Liquid Bandage
A liquid, spray, or gel bandage will cover the cracking on your heels and create a protective layer to reduce pain and keep the area clean. Also, if the cracking is severe, the liquid bandage will prevent germs and bacteria from entering the wound and causing an infection.
Most people who use a liquid bandage report that it eases their discomfort and gives the cracking a chance to heel. Typically, the severe cracks start to clear up within a week of applying the solution.Related: 13 Issues That May Result in Swollen Feet