Treating and Healing Rough Feet and Cracked Heels
Rough, dry feet and cracked heels are not the best look for summer sandals, the beach, or even around the house. Rough skin on the feet is due to overly dry skin. Cracked heels happen when the skin around the heels becomes thickened or dry and the heel loses its pliable softness – this causes the skin to split or crack under the simple pressure of walking. There are some medical reasons why some people have dry feet and cracked heels and this condition can be worse in people who have a large fatty pad on the bottom on the feet which requires more elasticity in the skin to expand without cracking.
Other Causes of Rough Feet and Cracked Heels
- Prolonged standing
- Excess weight
- Poor fitting shoes
- Un-hygienic conditions
- Dry climates and cold winters
- Vitamin deficiency
- Thyroid problems
- Athlete’s Foot (Tinea)
- Kidney disease
Treating Rough Feet and Cracked Heels
Severely cracked heels that are split and bleeding should be treated by a Podiatrist. That said, the key is to keeping your feet in good condition is to scrub them regularly with foot scrubs or home remedies to remove the build-up of dead skin cells, stimulate the circulation and keep the skin soft. But what can you do now to treat and heal rough feet and cracked heels so you can walk barefoot on the beach or slip on a revealing pair of sandals with confidence?
There are inexpensive over the counter creams especially created for keeping feet soft and callus-free such as Zim’s Crack Crème for Heels & Feet and there are home treatments remedies that will not only prevent dry skin and cracking, they can heal rough, dry feet and cracked heels. Here are some suggestions:
Sea Salt Soak – In the case of cracked heels you need to pamper your feet by soaking them in warm salty water for at least 10-15 minutes. The salt will not only soften the skin it will provide healing relief for severely cracked heels. Finish by patting feet dry and apply foot cream or simple petroleum jelly to lock moisture into the skin. Put on a pair of clean socks to prevent from slipping and to speed the healing.
Sea Salt Scrubs – Coarse sea salt is perfect for sloughing dead skin from your feet – it acts as an abrasive agent that also softens the skin and many sea salts contain natural minerals that nourish and heal the skin. Sea Salt scrubs can be made with other softening, nourishing and healing ingredients, like this Peppermint Foot Scrub from Dr. Jessica Wu, Dermatologist in Hollywood, California, posted by the Daily Glow.
1 cup coarse sea salt
5 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ cup fresh mint, minced
3 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
Soak feet in warm water for 10 – 15 minutes. If you have thick calluses, try using a foot file or pumice stone before using the scrub. Then massage the minty scrub into your feet in a circular motion, spending the most time on the roughest areas. Don’t forget your ankles and the tops of your toes. Rinse off with warm water, pat dry. Finish with a rich foot cream and slip on a pair of clean socks.
Oils – this simple remedy delivers great results. Any type of oil (or even butter) will prevent feet from drying and heels from cracking. You can use olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil or a simple hydrogenated vegetable oil. First soak feet and scrub with a pumice stone to remove dead skin. Dry feet and apply oil to heels, soles and ankles. Like most of these remedies, it’s best to treat your feet at night. Wear a pair of clean socks to allow plenty of time for the oil to penetrate the skin. You will notice an immediate improvement and after a few nights of this treatment your feet and heels should be soft, supple and healed in no time.
Lemon – this is a popular home remedy that seems to work well. The acidity of the lemon is great for rough skin. Make a simple foot soak of warm water and lemon juice and soak your feet for 10 – 15 minutes. Use a pumice stone to help remove dead skin and calluses. Pat dry and finish with a thick, nourishing moisturizer and a pair of soaks for an overnight treatment.
Honey – honey is one of nature’s best healers – and using this natural ingredient for dry feet and cracked heels is no exception. Honey has moisturizing and antibacterial properties. Simply make a foot soak with one cup of honey in some warm water and soak feet for 15 – 20 minutes. Scrub feet with a pumice to remove dead skin. Lock the moisture in with a balm, cream or oil and a pair of clean socks.
Balms – Using a heel balm or oil based moisturizer twice daily is an ideal way to prevent dry feet or cracked heels. Balms help to increase elasticity in the skin – a key preventive measure if you want to avoid cracked heels. For daytime use, apply the balm around the outer edges of your heels for a less slippery feel. Look for inexpensive, yet effective heel balms like Walgreen’s Soothing Heel Balm for under $10. For an easier, less messy application, try a stick heel balm, like Butter London Stiletto Stick Hydrating Heel Balm. As with most treatments, treating your feet at night was a balm and a pair of socks is most effective.
So while our feet are not usually the first thing people notice, dry feet and cracked heels are not only uncomfortable, they do draw unwanted attention. So don’t ignore your feet – treat them with kindness. Remember to soak, scrub, and moisturize daily and your feel will look and feel great.