The heel is one of the parts of the body that bears the greatest continuous pressure, and it is prepared for it! That is why the skin of the heel can be up to 50 times thicker than that of the cheek. However, that does not free you from suffering injuries, known as “cracks” or “fissures”.
Although cracking is often ignored, it can cause serious problems in the long run, mainly because it increases the risk of infection. Learn here how to treat cracked heels easily and effectively.
Why do heels crack?
Our heels can crack when the skin that covers them is dry and fails to expand as required when walking.
It is a common condition, which can be especially harmful in people who are obese or overweight, have vascular insufficiency, or have diabetes.
The constant pressure of walking can lead to bleeding heels, which favors the entry of harmful microorganisms that cause diseases and infections.
How to prevent cracked heels
You can avoid the appearance of fissures or cracks in the heels by taking into account the following tips:
- Avoid using highly scented soaps.
- Avoid wearing very high heels or narrow and uncomfortable shoes.
- Hydrate yourself properly (drinking between 2 and 2 ½ liters of water per day). You can also consume foods rich in water, such as cucumber, watermelon, or melon, among others.
- Maintain a balanced and healthy diet, rich in grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. This diet will provide the essential nutrients to take care of the health of the skin.
- Do not abuse very hot showers or baths, as they dry out the skin.
- Don’t scratch or rub your heels if they itch.
- Keep your feet well moisturized, especially in cold and dry weather.
- Use insoles in the heel area to cushion impacts.
If you are already experiencing discomfort and pain from cracked heels, you can try the following home remedies to find some relief:
Aloe vera or aloe vera is a short-stemmed shrub with gray-green triangular leaves with small teeth and a shiny gel inside, which can help fight cracked heels.
Different studies found that this substance has great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, healing, toning and deep penetration power in the skin, thanks to its ability to retain water and the presence of vitamins A and E.
- Natural care for dry skin
It also has compounds, such as acetylsalicylic acid, auxins and gibberellins, which seem to act as analgesics, anesthetics and healing agents, ideal for correcting cracked heel wounds.
How to use it
To take advantage of the protective and renewing effects of aloe vera and take care of cracked heels, you should first soak your feet well in hot water and then gently rub with a pumice stone or loofah to remove traces of dead skin.
Then rinse and dry well (in the case of cracked heels, it is always recommended to pat dry, never rub as this can make the situation worse).
Apply a thick layer of aloe vera gel to your heels and put on socks (preferably cotton, although they can also be made of wool).
Let it sit overnight and the next day remove it by rinsing with warm water. Repeat this procedure every day or every other day.
In addition to being one of the most consumed foods in the world, the banana is a very complete fruit that provides essential nutrients. These are responsible for many of its protective, moisturizing, and rejuvenating effects on the skin.
For this reason, it is often used as home remedies to relieve the symptoms of cracked heels, as it promotes skin elasticity.
How to use them
You can take advantage of the benefits of bananas by crushing them to form a paste. Rub the preparation on the cracked heels (previously soaked in hot water and dried) and leave them to act for half an hour.
Then rinse your feet with warm water and pat dry again. You can repeat this procedure as many times as you want until you notice good results.
Also known as sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate, or bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate is a white, crystalline compound.
It is capable of releasing carbon dioxide when it comes into contact with acids, which is why it became an essential ingredient for making soft drinks and cleaning products.
It is also used for medicinal purposes, as it has anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties, useful for removing dead skin and relieving cracked heels.
How to use it
Soak your heels in hot water and once dry apply a mixture of baking soda (the proportion is 2 tablespoons well dissolved per cup of warm water).
Then proceed to gently rub (without drying the preparation) with a vegetable sponge or pumice stone.
Finally, rinse with clean, warm water and pat dry with a towel. Due to the exfoliating effect of bicarbonate, it is advisable to limit this practice to two or three times a week maximum.
Lemon with Vaseline
Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly or gelatin or petrolatum, is a homogeneous mixture of long-chain saturated hydrocarbons. It is obtained from the refining of a heavy fraction of petroleum.
- What foods help soothe dry skin?
It is commonly used in skin care, especially to relieve dryness, for its moisturizing effects. It is also prioritized over lotions as it does not cause irritation.
Lemon, beyond being a popular food and dressing, can be very well complemented with Vaseline, since its citric acid promotes skin cell desquamation and regeneration.
How to use them
First you must moisten the heels, to do this, soak your feet in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Then gently pat them dry.
Once ready, prepare a mixture with two tablespoons of Vaseline and 10 drops of lemon juice. Apply the preparation to the affected areas, cover with wool socks and leave on overnight.
The next day, you can remove with warm water. Try to repeat this procedure every day or every other day.
Honey is a food produced by bees from the nectar of flowers. It is composed of between 70 and 80% sugar, distributing the remaining percentage in water, minerals, proteins and acids.
Its use is very popular to make facial masks and thus renew and soften the skin. But this benefit is not only limited to the face, as it can be used to heal cracked skin on the heels.
How to use it
In a large bowl of hot water add a cup of honey and mix to dissolve. When it is warm, submerge your feet and leave for 15 to 20 minutes. You can massage gently to enhance the effects and achieve greater penetration of the preparation.
Then you can exfoliate wet feet with a loofah or pumice stone, rinse again, remove any remaining preparation with warm water, and finally pat dry.
You can repeat this procedure as many times as you want, but it is advisable to do it before going to sleep.
Vinegar is one of the most widely used dressings, but it is also an important ingredient in many home remedies.
With regard to cracked heels, it can help soften rough, dead skin, making it easier to exfoliate.
How to use it
Mix vinegar and hot water in a large bowl (vinegar should make up 1/3 of the mixture).
Submerge your feet and let them rest for 15 minutes, then remove and rub with vegetable sponges or pumice stone.
Then rinse with clean water and gently pat dry.
Remember to apply a little of your moisturizing cream after this procedure.
Until there is meaningful scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should be very careful.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, but first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.