A very common problem that we see a lot among elderly people and women in particular. Its causes vary, but its mental consequences for you are one that begins with you feeling embarrassed by its presence and a lack of self-confidence, and you may deliberately hide it from the eyes of those around you, and ends with you feeling pain with every step you take. Did you know what it is? It is cracked heels.
This problem is widespread among women because of the nature of their lives and work, and with it myths, strange information, and magic mixtures that claim that they will hide it in three days, spread with it. Therefore, we chose this article for you to learn more about this problem, its causes, and guaranteed treatment methods, and from reliable scientific sources, so that you can get rid of it and regain your self-confidence and information. So read on to learn more about the problem of cracked heels.
In this Article
What is Cracked Heels?
Cracked heels occur when the skin on the bottom of the feet, especially the heels, becomes dry and hard due to the accumulation of dead skin. Its appearance may be annoying to some, but it usually does not cause serious problems. Do not ignore dry and cracked heels because over time, and if they are neglected for a long time, you may develop deeper and more painful cracks, which increases the risk of infection and is therefore difficult to treat.
It should be noted that cracked heels may be a sign of a certain disease, so you should consult your doctor to ensure your health. Therefore, regardless of the cause of cracked heels, there are steps you can take to treat it. There are also ways to keep your heels from cracking in the first place, and you can also find out the reasons for its occurrence, its symptoms, and more by reading this article, so follow along with us.
Cracked Heels Myths and Facts
With the widespread of some problems, myths and false information also spread, so we have collected for you the most common myths for you to start with and correct your information, and we mention some of them:
Myth: You can get rid of cracked heels within two days using a magic mixture.
Fact: There is no magic treatment that works in just two days. The duration of treatment varies according to the severity of the condition and the presence of other health problems or not, and it can extend from several days to weeks depending on the degree of your adherence to the instructions.
Myth: Cracked heels are only a cosmetic problem and do not affect your health.
Fact: Cracked heels can cause pain, discomfort and infection if left untreated. People with diabetes or other conditions that affect the feet are especially at risk of developing complications from cracked heels.
Myth: Cracked heels are caused by wearing the wrong shoes or walking barefoot.
Fact: While these factors can contribute to cracked heels, they are not the only causes. Cracked heels can also be caused by medical conditions, dry skin, environmental factors, and standing for long periods, which we will explain later.
Myth: Cracked heels can be treated by applying any moisturizer or lotion.
Fact: Not all moisturizers are equally effective in treating cracked heels, and some may exacerbate the condition by drying out the skin or causing irritation. Follow along with us to learn about the best moisturizers used to treat this condition in our following paragraphs.
Cracked Heels Causes
The causes of cracked heels are many and often occur due to a combination of several factors in addition to neglect and lack of attention. These factors are divided into: external factors related to the surrounding atmosphere and lifestyle, and medical factors related to your health and your susceptibility to certain diseases.
The first sign of cracked heels is areas of thick, dry skin known as calluses around the edge of the heel area. As you walk, the fat pad under your heel expands and this leads to cracked calluses.
There are also many other factors that can cause your heels to crack or make their condition worse, including:
- Standing for long hours without rest, which is why it is common among housewives and restaurant workers.
- Walking barefoot or in open sandals.
- Taking a hot bath for a long time, which in turn causes dry feet if they are not sufficiently moisturized after the bath.
- Use soaps that contain irritating substances that can strip your skin of its natural oils.
- Shoes that do not fit you properly or support your heel, such as high heels, etc.
- Dry skin due to climate, such as low temperatures or low humidity.
You should know that it is the combination of several factors that expose you to cracked heels, not the presence of just one factor. Also, the lack of sufficient and continuous hydration in the presence of one or more of these factors may cause your feet to dry out faster. In our next paragraphs, we will introduce you to its most common symptoms. Will you be one of them? Will you be one of those with dry feet or not?
High blood sugar and poor circulation resulting from diabetes are among the most common causes of dry skin, which in turn may cause nerve damage, preventing you from knowing that your feet are dry, cracked, and painful.
Other conditions that may lead to dry skin and cracked heels include:
- Deficiency in some vitamins.
- Fungal infection of the foot, the most common of which is athlete’s foot.
- Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema.
- Palmoplantar keratoderma, an abnormal thickening of the skin that forms on the soles of the feet and palms.
- Bone spurs in the heels.
You should see a doctor if you have one of these diseases to follow up on the condition so that it does not get worse. We advise you to monitor your feet on a daily basis and make sure that you do not have any of the symptoms that we will mention to you in the next paragraph.
Excess weight is one of the most common causes of cracked heels because of the excessive pressure it puts on the feet, so here is our article to learn about everything related to obesity: Obesity | How to Avoid It | Causes and Treatment .
Cracked Heels Symptoms
In addition to cracked heel, you may notice the following:
- Peel off skin.
- Itchy feeling.
- Heel pain that may be severe in some cases.
- Redness and inflammation of the skin.
- Skin ulcers.
If the cause is a medical condition, you may develop complications with cracked heels in severe cases. Complications can include:
- Loss of feeling in the heel area.
- Cellulitis infection.
- Diabetic foot ulcers.
Symptoms of infection include pain, warmth in the area, redness, and swelling. Contact your doctor immediately if you think you have an infection.
Cracked Heels Treatment
Be careful and do not treat cracked heels yourself before confirming your health condition. If it is caused by a medical condition, there may be a need for a treatment plan determined by your doctor depending on the type and severity of your condition. Only the doctor will suggest the best treatment for you. The treatments are divided into two parts that you can share together to get better results. It includes:
Preparations from the Pharmacy
You can choose the appropriate product for you after consulting your physician. The first line of treatment for cracked heels is to use a balm or cream specifically for the heels. These products contain ingredients to moisturize and soften the foot and exfoliate dead skin. Here are the most important substances that you should pay attention to in the product before purchasing it to treat cracked heels:
- Salicylic acid.
- Alpha-hydroxy acid AHA .
- Saccharide isomerate .
- Lactic acid.
All of these ingredients help soften the skin and remove dead skin due to their exfoliating properties. You should be aware that these ingredients have an irritating effect on the skin and may cause some stinging or irritation, so you must adhere to the instructions of the doctor or pharmacist when using.
Natural treatments are no less important than medical preparations, but they do not give quick results and are not useful in severe cases of cracked heels. Now we will enumerate for you the most common materials that you can use easily and that you can find in your home:
- Honey: Honey works as a natural treatment for cracked heels. As honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and research shows that honey can help heal wounds, disinfect them, and moisturize the skin. So you can use honey as an ingredient in a foot peeling mixture after soaking it in warm water, or put it as a mask on the foot overnight and wash it off in the morning.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is often prescribed for dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis as it can help your skin retain moisture. It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, so it is considered a good option for treating cracked heels. You can use coconut oil after soaking the foot in warm water.
There are many other home remedies for cracked heels, but there is no proof that any of them help in treating cracks specifically, as most of these ingredients focus on moisturizing and softening the skin, including:
- Vinegar. You can add it to warm water before soaking your feet, which will help soften and exfoliate them later.
- Olive oil or any vegetable oil. You can use it to moisturize the feet after soaking and exfoliating. It is preferable to leave it overnight and wash it in the morning.
- Shea butter is considered one of the favorite moisturizers for this area due to its high hydration and rapid absorption.
- Paraffin wax, you can find it in beauty centers, as it plays a role in trapping moisture inside the skin and preventing its evaporation.
- Oatmeal mixed with vegetable oil, you can use it as a scrub after soaking your feet.
How Long Does it Take for Cracked Feet to Heal?
The healing time for cracked heels depends on the severity of the condition and the treatment methods used. It may take several days or weeks for the cracks to completely heal. However, there are some factors that may delay or complicate the healing process, such as:
- Having an underlying medical condition that affects the skin or moisture production, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.
- Wearing shoes that expose the heel to air or friction, such as sandals and high-heeled shoes.
- Not following proper foot care, such as moisturizing the heels twice a day, wearing cotton socks at night, and gently rubbing dead skin with a foot file.
You should follow your doctor’s advice and use appropriate treatments to speed up the healing process and prevent further cracks, such as:
- Use thick moisturizers or moisturizers designed for the heels of the feet and contain the skin softening and moisturizing agents we mentioned previously.
- Wear shoes that protect the heel and provide good cushioning.
- Soak your feet in warm water with salt, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, or oatmeal once or twice a week.
- Apply Vaseline or coconut oil to your heels before going to bed.
- Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet that includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and biotin.
Ways to Keep Your Feet from Cracking
We will summarize for you ways to maintain your feet with simple, daily steps that include:
- Examine your feet daily. This is very important if you suffer from diabetes or one of the diseases we mentioned to you previously, as examining your feet daily will help you find the problem before it becomes serious.
- Wash your feet every day. Use warm water, then dry them well, making sure it reaches between your toes because the skin in this area tends to stay moist. Then put cornstarch or talcum powder between your toes. This will keep the skin dry and help avoid infection.
- Trim your toenails and cut them straight, then file them gently using a nail file. This will help prevent the nail from becoming embedded in the flesh.
- Wear supportive shoes. You should start by wearing clean, lightly padded socks that fit your size, and you should wear shoes that fit the size of your feet and support them. We will give you a golden tip: Go shoe shopping at the end of the day, because your feet tend to swell as the day goes on.
- Protect your feet from extreme temperatures. Make sure to wear shoes on the beach and on hot pavement, and use sunscreen to protect exposed areas of your feet. If your feet become cold at night, you should wear socks when sleeping, and in the winter, wear lined, waterproof shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.
For you, my dear, we have provided a rich article about foot care in easy steps and at home without the need to book appointments in centers and risk exposure to infection. You can view it here: Foot Care at Home – 6 Simple and Quick Steps .
Now we have reached the end of the article, and you now know a wealth of information about the problem of cracked heels, starting with its causes and symptoms and ending with the best ways to keep your feet moist and soft. You can provide advice to anyone who suffers from it, and you are confident in your information.
After reading the article, you learned that cracked feet have many causes that may be serious in some cases, so do not hesitate to visit the doctor and perform the necessary tests to ensure your health, and then start with the topical treatments prescribed by him only.
In the end, we advise you not to be led by the myth of three days, as satisfactory results require time and effort to be seen, and of course you need a reliable source that will provide you with the correct information in the easiest and smoothest ways. So follow our magazine to obtain it, and from me and from Frashti Magazine we wish you continued health and radiance.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Cracked Heels
What is the vitamin whose deficiency causes cracked feet?
A deficiency of vitamin B-3, vitamin C, and vitamin E can cause cracked heels, so it is important to pay attention to your diet to avoid this problem.
What shoes are suitable for your cracked feet?
Choose low-heeled or no-heeled shoes to reduce pressure on the feet and avoid irritation, and save high heels for special occasions.
Is toothpaste useful in treating cracked feet?
No, toothpaste is intended for teeth only and it is not beneficial to use it on any part of the body. It may even make the condition worse, so be careful.
Is Vaseline useful in treating cracked feet?
Yes, Vaseline can be applied to the cracked area after soaking and exfoliating the feet. It is preferable to wear cotton socks after application to keep the feet moist before going to sleep.