Effective Tips To Heal Cracks
As we get into winter, don’t let cracked heels dampen your spirit

heal cracksThe feet bear our burden and provide structural support to the body. If proper care is not taken, the heels start cracking up and walking becomes painful.

Cracked heels, or heel fissures, appear as linear cut wounds, affecting the epidermis, when they are superficial. But at times the fissures run deep and extend to the dermis (lower layer). This is when they become painful and may bleed. In severe cases they could become septic.

Treat them well

Have you noticed that the skin on our palms and soles feels different from the skin on other parts of the body? The skin has an extra thick epidermis with multiple layers—also called glabrous skin (non-hairy skin). It has no sebaceous (oil-secreting) glands that moisturize the skin.

The heels have a pad of fat within— that acts like a cushion—to bear the pressure of the body. So, when the skin—of the heel—surrounding this cushion hardens further, it cracks up under pressure instead of expanding sideways smoothly.

Genetic and acquired causes for cracked heels

A group of genetic disorders known as palmoplantar keratodermas (PPK), psoriasis and hyperkeratosis eczemas may lead to cracked heels.

* Growth of hard skin, especially on the outer edge of the heels

heal cracks * Yellow or dark coloration of skin

* Red and flaky patterns

* Pain when walking

* Increased pain on prolonged standing

* Itching and oozing in severe cases.

Care for the cracks

Medical Rx

When the pain becomes unbearable it is time to see a doctor.

* The treatment starts by investigating the cause and trying to remove it. The thick skin is removed by deriding (medical removal of dead skin and tissue) under sterile conditions. Don’t try to remove the hard skin using a razor or a pair of scissors. This may turn infectious.

* If the cracks are very painful, strapping may be used to ‘hold’ them together while they heal.

heal cracks* Prescription emollients (skin softeners) that have urea and salicylic acid as ingredients are to be used. You could try Cotaryl, an OTC medicine.

* Insoles may be used to alter the way you walk.

* Use a heel cup to keep the fat pad from expanding sideways. Avoid reaching a stage where a doctor has to intervene. Foot care begins at home. A regimen of cleaning and moisturizing is a good start; if you are unable to do it daily, try at least twice a week.

Home Rx

* Soak your feet in lukewarm water to make the skin soft and allow it to absorb moisture. There is no need to add anything to water. Avoid using antiseptic liquids as they make the skin drier. After 20 minutes, pat the feet dry and apply moisturizing foot cream to keep the skin supple.

* Or mix Vaseline and lemon juice in equal quantities to make a good emollient and apply on the feet. You can also apply the pulp of a ripe banana on the dry area, leave it for 10 minutes and then rinse it clean.

* Lemon and pumice stone are good exfoliating agents. But take care not to rub the pumice stone too hard on your heels and of course avoid sharing it with others if you don’t want an infection.

* A mixture of glycerin and rose water is also a timeless remedy.

* Application of hydrogenated oil if applied under occlusion (wearing a pair of socks after the application) works wonders, if done once a week.

* During the day, use a good moisturizer on the feet.

* Wear shoes with thick soles and low heels. Reserve stilettos for parties.

* Take off your shoes and socks for half an hour during the day to air the feet. Take care and your heels will never be your Achilles’ heel.