Make Foot Care Part Of Your Routine
Just like your skincare routine, its equally important to continue to give your feet some TLCeven after youve healed them. The best treatment for cracked heels is avoiding it in the first place which means daily moisturizing and weekly exfoliatingthis is important in both cold and warm weather, advises Dr. Splichal, which in all honesty, is pretty easy advice for anyone looking to put their best foot forward.
What Causes Cracked Heels
When the skin around your heels becomes dry and thick, it can be the start of cracked heels. Extra pressure on the fat pad of your heels can cause dry, thick skin to form cracks, or heel fissures. While anyone can develop heel fissures, some things make them more likely, including:
- Wearing open-heeled footwear such as sandals
- Taking hot baths or showers
- Using harsh soaps
- Heel spurs, bone protrusions on the bottom of your heel
Good Products To Use For Cracked Heels
Another good product to use is the Cracked Heel Sealer from Margaret Dabbs, which creates a barrier that helps lock in moisture. Both of these products contain natural ingredients and are safe to use on your feet.
One more simple way to heal deep cracked heels is by using a moisturizing cream with salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid. This cream should be applied to your heels after bathing, as well as whenever they feel dry.
The moisturizer can also help you prevent the skin from becoming dry and cracking. You can also use plain petroleum jelly to lock in moisture. This will also protect your heels from the environment. Keeping them moisturized will reduce the pain and speed up the healing process.
How about doing this to heal your heels by wearing shoes that fit properly! Sandals are a big culprit when it comes to cracked heels, because they cause the heel to slap against the hard sole of the shoe.
Moreover, dirt, sweat and other contaminants can easily penetrate the skin. If you are prone to cracked heels, it is a good idea to consult a board certified dermatologist and have your feet examined.
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How To Heal Dry Cracked Heels According To Dermatologists
A long winter and spring stuck inside in the dry air may have made the skin on your feet, especially your heels, super dry dry enough to crack like a fault line. And while COVID-related self-isolation may tempt you to keep your feet hidden, cracks in your heels can fracture into deep cuts, or fissures, that can be pretty painful and even get infected. We asked board certified dermatologists Sheel Desai Solomon, MD, founder of Preston Dermatology & Skin Surgery in North Carolina and Samer Jaber, MD, founder of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City, what causes dry, cracked heels and the best treatment for dry heels.
How To Heal Cracked Heels In 4 Steps According To A Podiatrist
Hint: It could be your shoes.
Sandal season is here, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, getting a pedicure hasnt been a top priority. Maybe you usually plan a pre-summer pedicure to prep your dry winter feet for open sandals and walks in the sand. This year that might not have been an option. Its time to take those dry, cracked feet into your own hands, and its probably about time to learn how to care for them yourself. Plus, it’s good to do a bit of investigative work into what exactly is causing your dry, cracked heels
Because there are a handful of different causes, it might take some time to figure out exactly what is leading your the condition of your feet. Your dry, cracked feet can be caused by eczema, which is typically genetic and is most common on hands and feet, says Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, board-certified dermatologist. She also says that age can play into it because “as people get older the skin tends to get drier and produces less natural oils.”
Other causes of dry, cracked heels include “diabetes, eczema, hypothyroidism, Sjögren’s syndrome, juvenile plantar dermatosis, infections such as athlete’s foot, biomechanical factors such as flat feet, heel spurs, or standing for long periods of time, particularly on hard flooring, and open-healed or poorly fitting shoes, as well as dry, cold weather,” says Dr. Miguel Cunha, board-certified surgical podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare.
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When To Consult A Podiatrist About Cracked Heels
Severe cases of cracked heels may need attention from a podiatrist. If your cracked heels have an infection and are bleeding, or not recovering even after trying the remedies for one week, you need to consult a podiatrist.
Cracked heels are not really a matter of worry. Regular foot care habits like soaking, exfoliating and moisturizing are enough to provide you soft and smooth feet. Over the counter foot creams and scrubs are useful too. Getting a proper pedicure at a salon can also help once in a while.
In case, the cracked heels still dont heal or symptoms seem to worsen with bleeding and pain, get your feet checked by a doctor. There can be an underlying condition like diabetes that needs treatment. Also, keep your feet covered and warm to avoid them from drying this winter.
How Can You Treat Cracked Heels
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for: exactly how to heal cracked heels, according to an expert.
If the damage has already been done, Cunha recommends a multi-pronged strategy. “When patients come to my office with thick calluses and cracked heels, I commonly recommend the use of Urea 40 percent gel such as Bare 40 Moisturizing Urea Gel,” he says . Urea has keratolytic effects and it acts as a humectant, meaning it helps pull in moisture. Here’s his full rec:
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How To Prevent Cracked Heels
Following a simple routine everyday can go a long way in preventing dry feet and cracked heels. Create a basic daily routine for yourself that includes cleaning and moisturizing your feet. Also, check your feet regularly for any problems.
If you notice any abnormal changes, address them immediately. You can consult your doctor, if you have issues with flexibility, or movement. Do not ignore symptoms of pain, irritation or any infection. Following the below-mentioned dos and donts can help.
Wear fully covered shoes and socks to avoid dust.
Do not wear flip-flops, sandals, or open-back shoes as they allow the dust and dirt to get attached to your feet and makes them dry.
Apply foot cream every night and cover your feet with socks.
Do not stand in one position or sit with your legs crossed for too long.
Wear custom-made cushions for your heels to adjust the pressure of your body weight.
Avoid wearing tight shoes.
Drink a lot of water and check your feet regularly.
Do not ignore your foot-care routine just because you dont have cracked heels or your cracked heels are treated. Cleaning your feet and applying foot cream needs to be done regularly.
How To Heal Cracked Heels
Cracked heels, also known as fissures, can be a nuisance and even bleed sometimes, but can occasionally lead to more serious problems if left untreated.
Treat them by giving your feet a little more attention, beginning with moisturizing them at least twice a day. Look for thick moisturizers . Some moisturizers contain skin-softening agents, such as urea, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid, which may help remove dead skin. They may cause slight stinging or irritation.
Give your heels extra attention before going to bed: Soak your feet for about 10 minutes in plain or soapy water and pat dry. Then gently rub your heels with a loofah or foot scrubber to help remove dead skin. Apply a heavier, oil-based cream or petroleum jelly , then slip on a pair of thin cotton socks at bedtime to help the moisturizer work.
Don’t ignore dry, cracked heels, as over time you may develop deeper fissures, which increases your risk of infection. If self-care measures don’t help, talk with your health care provider about other treatment options.
This article is written by Mayo Clinic Staff.
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Tips For Treating Cracked Heels
- apply heel balm in the morning to increase skin elasticity before you start your day
- moisturize your heel two to three times a day
- wear shoes that protect your heel
Some heel balms may cause minor stinging or irritation. This is normal. Consult your doctor if the balm continues to bother you or causes severe reactions. Severe cases of cracked heels may require a prescription-strength balm or steroid cream to help reduce inflammation and relieve itching.
Rice Flour Honey And Vinegar
Rice flour work as an amazing natural exfoliator, that helps to clear off the dead cells and nourishes the skin. Added with honey a natural antiseptic that heal cracked feet and vinegar is mild acid that moistens the dry and dead skin, making it very easy to exfoliate.
How to do
Make a scrub by mixing all the ingredients to form a thick paste.
Soak your feet in lukewarm water for 10 minutes, dry and then gently scrub using the mixture to clear off the dead skin.
Repeat this process 2-3 times in a week.
Treat your feet by giving a little more attention and care, start with moisturizing them at least twice a day. Look out for moisturizers containing skin-softening agents like urea, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid that may help clear dead skin cells.
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Seal Deep Cracks With Liquid Bandage
If you have deep cracks that are extremely painful or even bleed, its important to bandage these like you would any other open wound to avoid infection. But because of the location on your feet, its hard to wrap them in an ace bandage or with gauze, which can easily slip inside a shoe.Instead, properly clean and moisture the wounds and seal them with a liquid bandage to give them the right environment to heal.
Applying A Keratolytic To Thickened Skin
When the heel skin is thick, applying a keratolytic may help thin it, as well as the other treatments.
Keratolytics are agents that thin thickened skin, cause the outer skin layer to loosen, and help with removal of dead skin cells. This process allows the skin to keep in more moisture.
Examples of keratolytics include:
- alpha hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid and glycolic acid
Products that contain both keratolytics and humectants may be the most useful. For example, urea is both a keratolytic and humectant that moisturizes and removes dry, cracked, and thickened skin.
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Simple Feet Care Routine To Be Followed
Soak your feet for about 10 minutes in plain water and dry well.
Gently rub the heels with a foot scrubber to aid remove dead skin cells.
Massage oil-based cream or petroleum jelly and wear a cotton sock at bedtime to seal the moisture and help the moisturiser to work.
Never ignore dry, cracked heels, if left unattended you may develop deeper fissures, which may increase the risk of infection.
What Are The Signs Of A Cracked Heel
The first sign of getting a cracked heel is the development of dry, hard, thickened skin around the edge of your heel. This is called a callus. It may be a yellow or dark brown colour. At first, small cracks over the callus are visible. If left untreated, and as more pressure is placed on your heel, these cracks become deeper. Eventually, walking and standing become painful. The cracks can get so deep that they begin to bleed.
In severe cases, cracked heels can become infected and lead to cellulitis. This is an infection in the deeper layers of your skin and needs urgent medical attention.
Cracked heels and diabetes
Cracked heels are of particular concern if you have diabetes, as the fissures may lead to diabetic foot ulcers. Foot problems can be avoided if you take care of your feet and act quickly if you have a problem.
Read more about diabetes and foot ulcers.
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Top 8 Effective Tips On How To Heal Cracked Heels Naturally At Home In A Week
I. Causes Of Cracked Heels
- Natural dry skin: Some people have naturally dry skin, so their feet are more prone to crack than others.
- Standing for a long time: standing on hard floors for a long time or in ill-fitting shoes can become a problem because it puts pressure on your heels.
- Obesity: Excess weight can put much pressure on the feet and cause the feet to expand leading to cracked heels
- Medical conditions: Some diseases such as diabetes, and thyroid problems and skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, and athletes foot interrupt the ability to produce oils, which causes cracked heels.
- Aging: Skin loses natural oils and the ability to stretch, resulting in cracks in the skin, especially in heels when you get older.
- Vitamins deficiencies: Lack of vitamins like vitamins C, A, E, and minerals such as zinc can affect your heel health.
- Continuous exposure to water: While bathing or doing any work which requires standing in water or wet areas for a long time, the natural oils in your skin can be easily lost, leaving the skin rough and dry.
II. How To Heal Cracked Heels
Here are some ways to remove calluses and dead skin cells and moisture the skin on your feet. Those will leave you to soften heels at the first use, be patient to take them in a week and cracks will almost disappear.
What Are Heel Fissures
Fissures are cracks in the skin, in combination with a thick formation of skin layers commonly found on the ball of the foot, heel, sides of the foot.
Cracks in the heels are caused by excessive pressure combined with the thick skin, and open shoe gear. A large majority of our patients get fissures when wearing rubber or leather sandals in the summer. This is caused mostly by inflammation and swelling in the skin, because of irritating materials.
Diabetes and other diseases like Lupus can increase the incidence of dry cracked skin, especially in the feet and hands.
These fissures can deepen on the outer surface of the skin or can go deeper causing bleeding or infection. Pain ranges from dull to sharp depending upon the level of irritation and compression of the nerves that are around these areas.
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How To Promote Healing
In addition to using vinegar on cracked heels, there are several other ways to promote healing for dry and cracked heels. Over-the-counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or for those who suffer from chronic dry feet. Similarly, wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture so they can stay on longer. In addition, applying moisturizer both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking. And, you can use pumice stones to remove dead skin. Then you can massage cream onto your foot. Removing the dead skin allows the cream to be absorbed.
Cracked heels can become painful if left untreated. To learn more, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foot HealthCare Associates. Our doctors will tend to all of your foot and ankle needs. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Livonia, Southfield / Bingham Farms, Novi, and Howell, Michigan. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs including dry cracked heels.
What Causes Cracked Heels And Feet
If you want to know how to heal cracked heels, then you should probably know how they developed in the first place. There are quite a few factors that could be upping your likelihood of experiencing cracked heels. Conditions such as obesity, diabetes, eczema, hypothyroidism, Sjögren’s syndrome , and juvenile plantar dermatosis have all been linked to cracked feet, says Cunha. Having flat feet, wearing ill-fitting shoes, and living in dry, cold weather can also play a part. (
Dry, fissured feet? It could also be the result of a fungal infection. “Many people assume if they suffer from dry or cracked heels, they simply need to grab a bottle of lotion when one of the most common reasons is actually athlete’s foot infection,” says Cunha. Common symptoms of athlete’s foot include dry-looking skin, itching between the toes, peeling skin, inflammation, and blisters and if you have symptoms that don’t improve within two weeks, you should visit a podiatrist, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.
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Choose The Right Footwear
If youre constantly dealing with cracked skin, it may be time to reevaluate your shoe collection as certain pairs can aggravate heelsespecially tighter ones that are restrictive of movement like boots or pairs that have a stiff heel counter , notes Dr. Splichal. Her favorite sole soothers? Shoes with softer fabrics that dont have a heel counter such as All Birds or Coach loafers.
Allbirds Women’s Wool Runners
Your First Step To Getting Better
At Gotham Footcare in NYC, we strive at recognizing your individual needs and desired outcomes while formulating an effective and personalized treatment plan with the highest quality care available.
What sets Gotham Footcare apart from other podiatry offices is our dedication to providing you with the education you need to make well-informed decisions regarding your care. Regardless of what your foot and ankle trouble may be, at Gotham Footcare our team will work tirelessly to help you feel better. At Gotham Footcare, we help you put your best foot forward.
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