We all enjoy baby-soft hands. In fact, most of us spend significant amounts of money on hand creams and manicures. Unfortunately, however, very few of us give our heels the same amount of care. As a result, neglected heels can quickly become cracked and unpleasant to the eye and touch. By establishing the cause of cracked heels and making an effort to avoid them, we can have the kind of heels that we don’t want to hide inside our shoes. Well Heeled takes a closer look at this.
What could cause cracked heels?
Most of us have experienced the unenjoyable sensation of having overly dry feet. If the sensitive skin on your heels becomes dry, it can easily split, and you will have painful cracks on your heels. These cracks are called fissures. Although these cracks won’t make it impossible for you to walk, they can be dangerous because they can result in infection. Heel fissures allow viruses and bacteria to enter the body, which can lead to illness and complications.
So what causes fissures? The leading cause is inadequate moisture. If dry heels are ignored, they can become uncomfortable, sore, and they might bleed.
There are several causes for overly dry feet, including:
- Very cold weather
- Being dehydrated
- Insufficient attempts to moisturize the feet
- Enjoying baths or showers that are too hot
- Taking extended hot baths
- Harsh scrubbing of the heels
- Scrubbing the feet while dry
- Having health conditions like diabetes
Who is at risk of getting cracked heels?
Unfortunately, we are all at risk of getting overly dry skin on our heels, resulting in cracked heels. However, there are risk factors that greatly increase the frequency and severity of cracked heels. These risk factors are:
- diabetes (For more information on diabetes, don’t forget to check out our blog page for more information such as on type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.)
People with diabetes are more likely to experience dry heels because the nerve damage in the feet caused by unstable blood sugar can result in overly dry skin. In addition, people with diabetes have higher odds of their cracked heels getting infected than people without diabetes. So what can people with diabetes do to minimize these risks?
- They can examine their feet daily to check for signs of infection.
- They can see their podiatrist frequently.
- They can wear orthopedic shoes.
Being obese increases a person’s chances of struggling with cracked heels because the heel pad carries more weight. In addition, the extra weight makes the odds of the heel expanding more. If the skin on the heels is dry, they will not be able to take the pressure, and they will crack as a result.
Of course, not only people with obesity struggle with dry skin over the colder months. In fact, anyone can have dry and cracked heels because of insufficient moisturizing, dehydration, an ill-balanced diet, and poor footwear.
How are cracked heels diagnosed?
More often than not, cracked heels can be improved with over-the-counter foot creams and lotions. However, if you find that there is no improvement and that your heels are even more painful and severely cracked, see our post here on cracked heels, after trying store-bought foot creams, you should see your podiatrist. If there is an infection, a podiatrist can suggest treatment that will treat the condition and help the skin heal.
What should you do to prevent cracked heels?
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to decrease the odds of getting cracked heels. Here are six methods you can do to have healthy and hydrated heels:
- Moisturize your feet
As mentioned above, cracks form on the heels when the skin is overly dry. The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure the skin on the heels doesn’t become dehydrated. Get into the habit of applying lotion or cream to your feet after having a bath or shower once a day. You can decide whether you prefer body lotions or creams or moisturizing foot products. Choosing products that have been specifically designed for the feet is always a good idea since they have been formulated to nourish the feet perfectly. Apply the moisturizer on the heels and soles of the feet.
- Scrub your feet once a week
Exfoliating your feet is a great way to get rid of dead cells and keep the skin on your feet soft and healthy. By giving your feet a good scrub once a week, you significantly decrease the risk of getting cracked heels. However, never do this with dry feet. Instead, start by giving your feet a 15-minute soak in warm water with bath salt or Epsom salt. This will soften the skin, making it easier to remove dead cells. Once the skin is clean and soaked, use a pumice stone to scrub areas such as the balls and heels of the feet. Apply moisturizer to your feet when you have finished exfoliating them.
- Invest in good footwear
Cracked heels can quickly occur when someone is wearing inappropriate shoes. If you are often dealing with cracked heels, invest in a good pair of shoes that prevent your heels from rubbing while allowing your feet to breathe. In addition, it is best to wear socks when you are wearing closed shoes. Lastly, you can add padded insoles to give your feet added support.
- Get enough exercise and follow a balanced diet.
It is more common for overweight people to struggle with cracked heels, so decrease your odds of getting cracked heels by exercising daily and following a balanced diet.
- Stay hydrated
Your body’s skin needs to remain hydrated to be healthy. Therefore, be sure to drink enough water daily to keep your skin’s elasticity while eliminating toxins.
- Treat your feet with natural remedies.
Of course, there is a massive selection of store-bought foot products that work well, but if you prefer a more natural approach, you can try these remedies to keep your heels soft and healthy:
- mixing glycerine and rosewater
- using bananas as a foot mask
- applying natural oils like coconut oil
By keeping your heels hydrated and healthy, you will enjoy walking through life without the discomfort of cracked heels. Follow the steps above to get and maintain soft and healthy heels that will keep the bounce in your step.
Disclaimer and Important Note from Well Heeled
The information contained in all our blog posts, messages and information on all platforms is not to be used as diagnosis material or as professional advice. We love writing our posts and information but you should always seek proper professional advice if you experience any negative health and well being problems. We try to keep our information as accurate as possible but we do not intend to take the place of official, professional advice and information that you can find from you appropriate GP, medial services and other professional bodies that can give appropriate medical guidance and support.
Here are some great external links for you too seek that proper and appropriate foot, diabetes and health care guidance and support:
Well Heeled Ltd. Kemp House. 160 City Road. London. United Kingdom. EC1V 2NX. Company Number 13323986