One reason that this problem occurs is from the amount of pressure applied when standing or walking, which makes the bottom of the feet expand sideways. Cracking can occur if the foot is not flexible enough. Cracked heels are linear cut wounds that affect the epidermis layer of the skin, or the surface layer of the heel. If the cracks expand beyond this layer, bleeding, pain, and infection may occur.
Pressure is not the only reason that people have cracked heels, a dietary deficiency or a lack of proper foot care can also be reasons. Zinc and Omega-3 fatty oils are the big contributors to dry skin if they are lacked in the diet. To get more Zinc in your diet, without supplements, you can eat foods such as oysters, organic chicken, crab, kidney beans, yogurt, and brown rice. For Omega-3 fatty oils, cold water fish or flax seed oil are good choices. Some other vitamins that are important are Calcium, Iron, and Vitamin E, along with Magnesium to ensure proper absorption of calcium.
To prevent cracked heels, you should do the following:
- Keep your feet clean and dirt free!
- Exercise your feet regularly.
- Make it a daily habit to cleanse and moisturize your feet.
- Gently exfoliate your feet when needed (should only be necessary once ortwice a week)
- Alternate between hot and cold water for your foot bath to soothe the feet.
- If you have deep, bleeding, cracks don’t walk barefoot until the cracks are healed and gone.
If you already have dry and cracked heels, here are some home remedies to help hydrate:
- Apply, substantially, one or more oils/moisturizers such as almond, grape-seed oil, olive oil, lanolin, cocoa butter, shea butter, or coconut oil to the heels and feet. Then put on a pair of thick cotton socks and wear over night to allow the skin to soak it all up.
- Mash a piece of papaya and use it like a masque on your heels. A pineapple can also be used but might be a little more difficult.
- Mix one cup of honey for every two cups of milk into a large bowl that is big enough to fit both of your feet for a foot bath. Soak your feet for 15 minutes, while lightly massaging the mixture into the skin. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
- Beeswax is another great resource for dry/cracked skin. Find a product that has a high proportion of beeswax; to find this, look at the ingredient list and beeswax should be listed closest to the beginning of the list.
- Apply the pulp of a ripe banana on the dry/cracked heel and let is sit for ten minutes, then rinse clean. Do this at least once daily, consistently.
- Soak your feet in lemon juice for ten minutes daily as needed.
- Apply a mixture of glycerin and rosewater on a regular basis.