Hey there my loyal readers, hope you’re all doing fine. Great you could join me on this unbounded trip to a disease free utopia. That said you won’t really be seeing the end of that trip if you fail to take extra special care of your feet. Yeah, yeah, the world might be in the palm of your hands so to speak, but you certainly walk through it with your feet don’t you? Some tender loving and foot care is long due if you ask me.
As a result, most of us develop several foot issues at some point in our lives. In our previous segment, we looked at the most common foot issues. And today, we’ll be talking about the commonest of them all – ye olde crack on heel.
We’ll get to learn what exactly heels are and how they make our lives that much better. After that, we’ll check out all the different causes of cracked heels and what we can do to both prevent and treat them. And don’t fret if your heels are severely or irreversibly cracked – I’ve got some special time-tested, all natural treatments and recipes that will soothe your battered steppers and restore your heels to their natural glory.
So grab a chair and sling off those dusty kicks, because you just waltzed right into Olivia’s ultimate guide to overcoming the modern day Achilles’ heel.
What Is the Function Of The Heel
Just like a house requires a solid foundation, we also need to build a firm foundation for our bodies by caring for our feet. Not only do feet assist us in basic, day to day tasks, they also handle other complicated functions of life that we can’t even fathom. But to work right, all the different parts (toes, heel sole, ball) have to move in perfect harmony. Cracked heels throw this harmony in complete disarray.
The heel itself is the prominence at the rear end of your foot and is based on your particular bone projection. Its main function is to offer stability while upright and distribute compressive forces and weight over the rest of the foot. But like I said earlier, decades of trodding overwhelming miles all while still carrying your weight all day out can definitely take its toll. And no problem is more common or widespread than the ever popular cracked heel.
Why Do You Get Cracked Heels
That’s right; as if being on our feet most of the day didn’t hurt, some of us have to contend with some pretty deep cracks underfoot. But you’d be surprised to learn just how rampant this problem is. Did you know that almost 25% of all adults in the US alone have cracked or callused heels? This usually happens when the sensitive skin at the bottom of your feet becomes too dry and splits open gradually.
After a while, these splits deepen into fissures all around the heel which can become quite painful. Aside from the massive discomfort felt when walking, cracked heels can also lead to serious bacterial and fungal infections. Not to mention how rough and unsightly some of these zigzagging fissures can be. Try cuddling up with your bae and see how quick they’ll be to swat off those scratchy sticks you call feet. So, how do you know that it’s cracked heels? Obviously you’ll see some pretty visible cracks, but here are some more symptoms that accompany cracked heels.
- Rough fissures around the heel
- Warmth and Redness
- Loss of feeling in heel (severe cases)
- Cellulitis infection (severe cases)
- Diabetic foot ulcer (complication)
Remember to consult a podiatrist at the first sign of an infection; a small crack could end up escalating to complications that require foot amputation.
Causes Of Cracked Heels
As most medical professionals and podiatrists will tell you, cracked heels can occur for a myriad of reasons. From insufficient moisture in your body to poor footwear choices, there’s a wide range of issues that could be cracking you up.
Knowing the causes will not only help you gain a better understanding of the condition, but also prevent the fissures from forming in the first place. So take a look at your routine, and see if you can identify anything below that speaks to you. You might even find the issue clears after slight alteration of your current habit.
- Lack of Moisture – This is the most common cause for cracked heels. Since skin around the heel area has a substantially smaller number of sweat glands, it’s naturally dry, rough and easily chapped. Fat usually supports the skin and prevents your sole from completely drying out. But when the feet become extremely dry, it’s like putting plaster on an ordinary balloon and letting it harden, then blowing the balloon up. As expected, the balloon will expand, but the plaster won’t; making it crack. The heel pad in this way also wants to expand outward, but the dry skin is often not flexible enough to expand along with it, so it cracks.
- Pressure – Do you spend most of the day (or night) on your feet? Standing for hours on end or exerting pressure and weight on your feet consistently is also known to cause cracks and fissures.
- Aging Skin – As mentioned earlier, the skin loses elasticity with age. As a result, the skin becomes thicker, scalier, and more prone to higher incidences of cracks.
- Hygiene – Sometimes, these fissures are caused by calluses and build up of dead cells. Failing to observe proper hygiene and cleanliness can lead to some pretty cracked up heels.
- Water – Hot water in particular is infamous for stripping the skin of its natural oils and moisture. Spending too much time in wet or damp areas such as bathrooms, pools, saunas, hot tubs, and beaches can cause cracks on the heel and encourage infection.
- Ill fitting footwear – As expected, a poorly fitting pair of shoes can cause more than a few aches and blisters. Too much rubbing can cause cracks to develop. Likewise, open back sandals allow the heel to expand and potentially crack.
- Medical Causes – These include vitamin deficiencies, psoriasis, obesity, palmoplantar keratoderma, fungal infection, pregnancy, genetics, among others.
- Harsh Soaps and foot creams are also responsible for sucking away moisture from your feet and leaving you exposed to cracks.
Preventing And Treating Cracked Heels
Cracked Heel Prevention 101
Before we get to all the different ways you can use to treat even the most advanced form of cracked heels, lets run through a couple of preventative measures. After all, it’s always better to avoid health issues than have to treat them. The best thing is that these tips will also help you maintain smooth heels and avoid recurrences in future.
- Inspect your heels every day, especially if you suffer from diabetes or any of the diseases we mentioned earlier that cause dry skin.
- Remember to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid standing in one position for too long or being on your feet all day.
- Use a pumice stone a few times a week after showering to prevent calluses and skin thickening which leads to cracking.
If you’re prone to getting cracks underfoot, you’ll want to find shoes that not only fit properly, but also support your heels. The best shoes to wear are sturdy, wide shoes that offer enough cushioning and support. You can also wear custom shoe inserts for custom cushioning and clinically tested padded socks to even out the weight distribution. Silicon heel cups keep the heel moisturized and prevent it from expanding. And lastly, avoid the following types of footwear completely whenever possible.
- Flip flops and sandals which increase risk of feet drying out
- Open back shoes that lack enough heel support
- Shoes with tall and skinny heels make your heel expand sideways and outward
- Tight shoes that could cause compression cracks
Treating Cracked Heels
Like most other health issues, you can always rely on western medicine to come up with a plethora of different treatments all aimed at remedying cracked heels. Podiatrists have the necessary clinical knowledge and equipment to not only get to the root cause of the problem, but also painlessly remove dead, thick skin to promote faster healing. They’re also likely to recommend proper fitting footwear as well as some pharmaceutical creams. But while most are harmless and often pretty effective, they also tend to come with drastic measures and an overwhelming list of uncomfortable side effects. I’ve compiled the medical treatments in order of escalation of health risks compared to actual benefits.
i) Applying Emollient, Humectant, or Occlusive Moisturizers
While emollient moisturizers penetrate deep into the skin and cut down water loss by filling in the gaps found between skin flakes, humectants penetrate the outer layer and attract moisture from the air to maintain correct levels. Both these moisturizers increase the water carrying capacity of your skin and leave it soft, smooth, and flexible. Most podiatrists recommend pairing emollients and humectants with occlusive moisturizers to seal in the moisture. These include lanolin, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and silicones such as dimethicone. However, you can expect this treatment to be greasy, sticky, and quite messy.
ii) Applying a keratolytic to thickened skin
We’ve already seen that thick skin is a major cause of cracked heels. When the heel skin is too thickened, applying a keratolytic could help thin it out. Keratolytics are agents that cause the outer skin layer to loosen, thin thickened skin, and help with removal of dead skin cells. This process lets your skin lock in far more moisture than before.
Examples of Keratolytics include salicylic acid, urea, and alpha hydroxyl acids like glycolic and lactic acid. Products with both keratolytics and humectants just might be the most helpful of all. For example, urea is both a keratolytic and humectant. This allows it to both moisturize and removes dry, thickened, cracked skin as well.
iii) Liquid Bandage
Gel, spray, or liquid bandages can be utilized to provide cover over the cracked skin around the heel. This helps create a protective layer over the cracks; thus helping reduce pain, prevent germs and dirt from entering the wounds, and facilitate faster healing.
Let me take a wild guess here; you probably waltz onwards every day of your life treating your feet as a means of transportation and nothing more, right? It might be true that our feet carry us farther than anyone, so why not give them the special care and attention they deserve? No more! It’s time to switch things up by pampering, rejuvenating, and healing your feet all in one go; and nothing does this better than Essential Oils.
Packed with, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antiseptic, cicatrizant, anti-fungal, analgesic, and a boundless list of other useful properties, essential oils are a robust force of nature to be reckoned with.
When used properly, EOs have the power and innate ability to heal bleeding cracks, lower inflammation, moisturize dry heels, exfoliate dead cells, relieve burning and tingling pain, reduce irritation, prevent infection, ease pain, balance hormones, slow the aging process, increase skin elasticity, help in cell regeneration, disinfect footwear… you get the picture.
You could say EOs are the Super Heros of the healing word, or the Ric Flair of the wrestling world (Go Nature Boy, Wooooooooooh). So, are you ready to bring the luxury of spa treatment into your home? In case you are wondering, there’s always the L’orpur Soothing Therapy Foot Gel.
Great, let’s do it.
Oops, before I do so, let me introduce you to H Cracked Heels…click here to read more about this formula which will address your symptoms completely.
5 Best EOs For Fissures And Cracked Heels
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Thanks to its potent antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory nature, Tea tree essential oil is globally used to clean, disinfect and treat scrapes, cuts, fungal infections, infected wounds, rashes, burns, insect bites, warts and of course cracks and fissures. Studies show that tea tree oil is more effective for use as antifungal cream than most meds you get OTC. So if you’re dealing with deep, bleeding cracks and fissures that could lead to infections, this one’s a must have.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
Sourced from the leaves of the sweet smelling mint-scented peppermint plant, peppermint EO is already known for its therapeutic and medicinal qualities. This not only makes it ideal for treating skin irritation, inflammation, bruising and cracking, but also for soothing severe itching associated with bleeding cracks on the heel. The menthol in peppermint contains a potent sedative with the ability to calm. This makes it suitable for joint and pain relief, as well as boosting energy levels. Likewise, the strong, minty aroma of peppermint will also combat foot odor if any.
3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Extracted from the Evergreen tree, Eucalyptus oil is an incredibly potent bactericidal with strong anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, analgesic, and highly sedative properties. Research shows that Eucalyptus oil is one of the main components in localized painkillers. So if you’re always complaining of painful cracks and fissures, then the strong sedative properties of eucalyptus should work wonders for you.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Apart from its captivating, enchanting scent, that makes it the number one choice in many perfume products, lavender essential oils also has an array of medicinal properties that can help treat a plethora of foot issues. Some of its abilities include soothing skin irritation, lowering inflammation, assisting with minor heel cracks and substantially speeding up the healing process. That’s the reason Lavender is the ideal all-rounder for heel-crack related complications such as bacterial infections and exposure.
5. Lemon Essential Oil
Apart from its cleansing, purifying, and invigorating properties, Lemon EO is one of the most versatile oils used for brightening dull skin. The familiar scent of lemon oil can help you focus and relax, while the essential oil improves circulation, removes toxins from your skin which helps with the healing process.
You can make your purchase of the 5 above essential oils here. They do come in a carry bag plus you get the added benefit of getting them wildcrrafted, organic…
Best 5 EO Recipes For Cracked Heels
1. Healing Heel Balm for Cracked, Bleeding Fissures
- 8 drops Lavender EO
- 10 drops Peppermint EO
- 6 drops Frankincense EO
- 12 drops Tea Tree EO
- Half cup shea butter
- Quarter cup beeswax pastilles
- Quarter cup coconut oil
- Small glass jar
Heat the shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil in a makeshift double boiler until it melts. Once in liquid form, remove the heat and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes before adding in your essential oils. Drop in the EOs as instructed above and stir well to mix. Pop the mixture into the refrigerator and wait for it to set into a balm. Once that’s done, smear generously and liberally on your cracked heels and cover with socks to prevent oil stains on your sheets.
2. Quick Heal Heel Roll On Blend
- 8 drops Tea Tree EO
- 6 drops Lavender EO
- 4 drops Peppermint EO
- 2 drops Lemon EO
- Fractionated coconut oil
- 30ml roll on bottle
Start by popping off the roller ball on your bottle so you can get the ingredients in there. Drop in your EOs drop by drop and top off with the fractionated coconut oil. Firmly place back the roller ball, close it up and shake thoroughly to mix up all the ingredients. Roll onto your clean and dry cracked heels every night before bed time for all night benefit.
3. Cleansing Dead Salt EO Foot Soak for Thickened Heels
What You’ll Need:
- 6 drops Tea Tree EO
- 4 drops Eucalyptus EO
- 3 drops German Chamomile EO
- 8 drops Peppermint EO
- Cup of Dead Sea salts
If you want to prevent cracks on your heels, then this is exactly what the doctor ordered. Begin by combining the EOs as indicated above. Next, pour the entire sludge in a cup of Dead Sea salt and mix thoroughly. Store the recipe in a glass jar for later use. You could even make a bigger batch since it won’t degenerate unless you proceed to the next step. This involves pouring hot water in a big bowl and letting it cool to a comfortable temperature. Once that’s done, add 2 tsp of the Dead Salt Soak we made earlier and stir until it dissolves. Dip and soak your feet in for 20 minutes to get thorough cleansing. This recipe will help prevent bacterial and fungal infections from cracked heels.
4. EO Foot Knead for Itchy, Cracked Heels
What You’ll Need:
- 13 drops Vetiver EO
- 11 drops Peppermint EO
- 9 drops Birch EO
- 7 drops Helichrysum EO
- 2 ounces (60ml) grape seed oil
- Glass dropper bottle
For those of us who’ve ever had those deep, bleeding fissures on your heels, then we know exactly how itchy it can get. But no matter the health issue or where it is, you should never irritate or scratch the area. A nice, soothing EO massage on the other hand, should work like a charm.
Start by combining all the essential oils as directed in the small bottle and shake. The grape seed carrier oil is vital for diluting the oils and helping them retain potency. Drip 10 drops of the blend in your palm and proceed to deeply massage your foot. Knead and squeeze all around the heel to get rid of the itchy sensation. Alternatively, you could get your kids or spouse to massage your feet for deeper and effective relaxation.
5. Pumice Stone Rub for Deep, Thick Heel Cracks
This recipe has really helped me deal with my pretty bad cracks on my heel recently. As with all recipes, patience and consistency is key.
What You’ll Need:
- 10 drops Peppermint EO
- 6 drops Chamomile EO
- 3 drops Tagetes EO
- 30 ml Jojoba Oil
- Pumice stone
If your cracked heels are caused by excessive build up of thick skin, then it’s nothing a pumice stone and some elbow grease can’t fix. Start by combining all the EOs in a dark glass bottle. Top it off with Jojoba carrier oil and shake well to mix everything. Apply generously to your heels at least thrice a day until they get softer. After about a week, a pumice stone should be able to scrub the dead, thick layers of skin off. The more the thick skin gets filled down, the more the cracks disappear.
The Parting Shot
That’s where we wind up another comprehensive guide to everything you need to know to keep your heels healthy, free from cracks, and smoother than a baby’s behind. But all these recipes are useless if you don’t remember to take better care of your foot soldiers and give them at least a couple minutes of TLC every night before bedtime.
Not only will this help keep heel cracks and fissures at bay, but it’s also extremely helpful in the long run. Don’t wait until it’s too late before you take action. Deeper, bleeding heel cracks can be very painful and could lead to potential infections. So take a stand today, tomorrow, and every day after that for the sake of your only pair of wheels.