5 effective ways to treat cracked heels

10 October 2023
A woman in high heels who suffers from cracked heels. En Source: VistaCreate

Do you have cracked heels? Feet with such lesions not only look unattractive, but can also give pain and cause dangerous inflammatory changes. How to deal with dry and hard heels? Find the answer below!

Cracked heels – where does this problem come from?

Excessive keratinization of the epidermis is the main reason for cracked heels. When the skin becomes harder, it simultaneously loses its elasticity and firmness. This promotes the formation of cracks, which over time become larger and larger, and in extreme cases even reach the dermis. This is not just a cosmetic problem – dangerous viruses, fungi and bacteria can enter the body through deep wounds.

Cracked heels – causes

A cracked, hard, dry heel is often the result of improper skin care. Although the epidermis in these parts of the body should be removed regularly, its too frequent and severe abrasion causes keratosis. Improper hygiene and insufficient skin hydration are other factors that promote cracked heels.

Other causes of cracked heels include:

  • Dehydration – insufficient water in the body makes the epidermis inflexible and the skin dry.
  • Mechanical irritation – most often caused by wearing mismatched footwear.
  • Inadequate diet – for good skin condition it is important, first of all, to have an adequate supply of zinc, which strengthens the skin and reduces the formation of inflammatory lesions, as well as vitamin A, which is responsible for proper skin hydration.
  • Age – aging makes the skin less elastic, dry and thin.
  • Skin diseases – such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis or fish scales.
  • Other disease entities – cracked heel skin often accompanies diabetes, hypothyroidism and circulatory disorders.
  • Genetic factors – the tendency to calloused and cracked heels can also be hereditary.

As you can see, there are quite a few factors that can contribute to hardening and cracking of heels.

Rough and hard heels – symptoms

Very dry and rough heels are the first signs suggesting that the skin in these parts of the body is not doing well. Over time, the epidermis becomes harder and tighter, which is easy to notice especially when pressing on the feet. Other symptoms that can accompany heel cracking include itching, hypersensitivity, peeling and a change in skin color. Such changes are associated with discomfort and often pain. The latter are felt more strongly the deeper layers of skin are affected by the cracks.

Treatment of cracked heels

If you notice the symptoms mentioned above in yourself, consider visiting a dermatologist or podiatrist. Topical treatment with urea, lactic acid or salicylic acid preparations is the most common treatment for these types of lesions.

Podiatric treatments

A podiatrist can correct the lesions that have developed on your heels by performing specialized treatments. Importantly, performing them will also reduce the risk of recurrence of the problem. The most common treatments are:

  • Podiatric pedicure – this is preceded by an assessment of the patient’s feet, then the specialist proceeds to trim and care for the nails, remove calluses and moisturize the feet.
  • Removal of calluses – involves softening, working out and smoothing the skin on which lesions of this type have formed.
  • Developing cracked heels – a treatment that aims to improve the elasticity of the skin of the feet, in addition to reducing the visible cracks on the skin.

Home remedies for cracked and calloused heels

If the lesions on your heels are not severe, you can use home remedies to offset the dryness of these body parts. These methods also have an important preventive role. If you already manage to cure cracked heels, take care that the problem does not recur. What are the methods in question? Highly effective are shown by:

  • Foot baths – you can use them regularly and not only to avoid cracking heels. Use medicinal salts or herbal infusion of fenugreek, chamomile or yarrow. A decoction of flaxseed, which improves skin elasticity, will also work great.
  • Stress relief for your feet – give your legs a rest! If you work a sedentary job, take regular breaks and get up from your desk often. Do you stand for a long time during the day? Sit down from time to time, stand on your toes, and rest with your feet elevated in the evening.
  • Foot scrubs – especially those that combine exfoliating and highly moisturizing action. You can buy a ready-made cosmetic or make your own concoction of sugar, honey and oil of your choice.
  • Removing keratinized epidermis – a heel milling machine or a foot file will come in handy when removing keratinized skin. Remember, however, that such a procedure should be done gradually and gently, so as not to further irritate the skin. If the cracks are large, it is best to consult a podiatrist, cosmetologist or dermatologist before removing the epidermis yourself.
  • Regular use of moisturizing creams – don’t forget that the skin of your heels needs moisturizing! Therefore, regularly use foot creams, for example, with urea or glycerin – these ingredients have softening properties.

How to avoid cracking heels?

A pumice stone or heel file – to which most of us limit our foot care – is often not enough to avoid the problem of cracked skin on these parts of the body. If you do use one, remove the skin gently, and apply a moisturizing cream or lotion to the skin after bathing. Also remember not to wear tight, mismatched footwear, which is not conducive to good foot health. Exfoliate your feet regularly, wear airy socks made of natural fabrics, and remember to get an occasional pedicure – your heels will then be much smoother and less prone to cracking.

Karol Popko

Karol Popko is an experienced author whose pen has been shining in the lifestyle world for many years. With his copywriting practice and insight into trends, he not only shares practical tips, but also opens up a deeper understanding of these topics to his readers. According to Karol, beauty can be found everywhere, and life is worth celebrating with passion and style.


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