Are you in a position that has you standing for long hours? (Pun intended.) Or perhaps you have a serious medical condition that causes dry feet?
The result may be cracked feet, and if left untreated, can cause severe pain and infection.
With the sandal season right around the corner, we look at cracking feet causes and the best home remedies to heal cracking feet.
Your unsightly cracked heals and feet are mainly as a result of dry skin brought on by a lack of moisture to the affected areas. Our feet do not contain oil glands, and are, therefore, susceptible to dryness. Too much dryness causes heel fissures, which can turn into cracks quite easily.
The pain associated with this condition happens when the dermis layer is broken by the cracking of the skin. You may experience symptoms of itchiness, rough and hard callused skin, flaky spots, and cracked skin. Cracking of the skin can cause it to bleed, and can lead to bacterial infections.
What Is the Cause of Cracked Feet?
Having cracked heels and feet can be attributed to several factors aside from dryness alone. The pressure on your feet from excessive standing positions, the natural ageing process, and medical conditions can cause cracked feet. Podiatrist Alan K. Mauser, DPM, compares the process to plaster on a balloon. “It’s kind of like if you put plaster on a balloon and let it harden and blow up the balloon, the balloon will expand the plaster and crack. The heel pad wants to expand outward, but the skin is not pliable enough to expand with it, so it cracks,” explains Dr. Mauser.
The number one cause of cracked feet is dryness. Lack of moisture is prevalent during the cold weather months of winter. We may tend to ignore our feet during this time as we maintain warmth with the wearing of heavy socks and enjoy longer hot showers and baths. Other causes of dry feet include dehydration, reduced use of moisturizing lotion, and use of chemical soaps on feet. Our diet can have an indirect effect on the amount of dryness of our feet, as well as if we lack essential nutrients.
Many of today’s workforce spend up to at least seven hours standing, performing occupational tasks. Without the proper footwear and foot care, this can lead to excessive dry skin and cracked feet. The surface where you stand also plays role, as hard floors can cause excessive pressure on the pads of your feet. This, combined with friction can cause severe cracking and possible bleeding of the skin.
Cracked feet are a reason for concern for many patients of various medical conditions such as diabetes, underactive thyroid disorder, eczema, and psoriasis. These conditions and certain medications draw moisture from the skin leading to dry skin. If you suffer from heel spurs, athlete’s foot, or flat feet, you are at risk for cracked feet.
As pressure on the heels and soles of feet can cause dry skin to crack, obese patients may be susceptible to cracked skin conditions. This can be prevented by wearing shoes with heel pads or cups, which keep the skin from expanding under the pressure of the weight of the body.
Those pretty shoes you love to wear could put your feet at risk for cracks by allowing the heel and foot to expand and the skin to become thin. This is the result of wearing shoes that do not fit your foot properly or have very thin soles.
12 Best Home Remedies for Cracked Feet
Once you notice cracks on the bottom of your feet or on your heels, there are a number of home remedies you can do to prevent further damage and infection from setting in. Try the following natural treatments to heal dry, cracked skin.
Soaking and scrubbing your feet can care for any skin damage. You should soak your feet in warm water before using any tool to remove the dead, dry skin. For best results, soak feet for 20 minutes before bedtime. You can use a pumice stone to remove dead skin before patting dry.
Olive, coconut, and almond oils are great moisturizers for dry skin and to treat cracked feet. After soaking feet in warm water, massage the oil on the cracked skin and put on clean socks for overnight. Rinse off the oil in the morning and repeat daily until skin improves.
Remove dead skin cells easier with the acetic acid in vinegar. Create a foot bath with ½ cup of white or apple cider vinegar with two cups of warm water. Scrub away loose skin after soaking feet for 10 to 15 minutes. Afterwards, pat dry and apply a moisturizer. This soak can be done three times each week.
Using the antibacterial components of honey, you can replenish lost moisture while healing damaged skin at the same time. Soak your feet in a bath of warm water and ½ cup of pure raw honey for 20 minutes before removing dead skin cells with a cloth. Do treatment daily until cracks are healed.
Treat the inflammation with a baking soda soak. In a foot tub, combine water with three tablespoons of baking soda. Soak feet for 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing with a pumice stone. Wash feet and repeat two to three times each week.
Create a paste of two to three tablespoons of rice flour, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Massage the thick paste on feet and allow the healing ingredients to set into the feet for a few minutes before rinsing. Do this two to three times each week.
Used for years as a natural healing agent and to pull toxins from the body, Epsom salt also stimulates blood circulation in the feet. Soak feet in a warm water and Epsom salt bath for 10 minutes. Use a pumice stone and place feet back into bath for another 10 minutes. Dry feet and moisturize. Continue to do soakings daily for a few days. You can also mix Epsom salt and an essential oil, such as peppermint or tea tree, to fight any infections in the cracked feet. Apply this as a scrub twice each week.
In addition to softening hardened skin, the natural juice of lemons eliminates dead skin. Soak your feet in a solution of warm water and lemon juice for 10 minutes before scrubbing the dry skin. Wash feet and apply moisturizer. Repeat every few days. For a daily treatment, combine one teaspoon of petroleum jelly with lemon juice and apply directly onto cracked feet.
The amazing powering agents in bananas can heal dry, cracked skin. Create a paste of two bananas in a blender and put it on the affected areas for a 20-minute application. You can also leave it on overnight to speed up healing time. Overripe bananas are the best to use.
Heal cracks in the feet and soothe any discomfort with the use of an oatmeal paste. Combine one tablespoon of powdered oatmeal with jojoba oil, and cover cracks and dry skin. After 30 minutes, rinse and repeat daily. You can also use one cup of ground oatmeal with ½ cup of flour, ¼ cup of raw honey, and ¼ cup of olive oil mixed together for a paste. Repeat this application three times each week.
With its natural healing properties, aloe vera can reverse the damage caused to skin. You can apply it in pure form directly on cracked feet, or use it to create a paste. Combine two tablespoons of aloe vera gel, one teaspoon of turmeric powder, one teaspoon of camphor powder to add to a paste of crushed basil leaves. Massage on affected area and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing.
Use peroxide to heal cracks only if there are no open wounds or bleeding. Add two cups of the peroxide to two cups of warm water and soak feet for 30 minutes. Use a pumice stone to help remove dead skin before rinsing.
We depend on the health of our feet for our daily living, but they can be the most neglected body parts. Think about all of the things we put our feet through, and after time, the actual pressure and friction along with skin condition can cause severely cracked feet. Those with sensitivities to loss of moisture of the skin are even more susceptible to cracks that may become infected. It is important to take time to care for your feet and you can use home products to treat unsightly and painful cracks in heel and feet. Any case of cracked feet that does not clear up after a few weeks should be checked by a medical professional.
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