Heel Cracks

heel_cracksOne of the perks of summer is sandals, but unsightly dry and painful heel cracks, or heel fissures, cause many women to hide their feet even in balmy weather. Especially as we age, just applying body lotion to the heels and scrubbing with a pumice stone now and then may not be enough to prevent dry and cracked heels.

What Causes Heel Cracks

There are many theories about what causes heel cracks, from dehydration and polyester socks, to omega-3 oil deficiencies, poor circulation and ill-fitting shoes. Obesity may place excess stress on the skin of the heels, and low thyroid may contribute to dry skin. Foot fungus may hide in pumice stones and chemicals in body lotions may damage the skin.

How to Heal the Heels

Whatever the cause of dry, cracked heels, the goal is to remove dead and callused skin, restore moisture to the feet and heal the cracks.

Drink Enough Water: As we age and as skin damage accumulates over time, the skin is less able to retain moisture, so part of the goal of heel restoration is to help the skin stay moist and flexible. Staying hydrated is certainly important, but often not enough to combat the effects of aging on skin.

Thyroid deficiency, which seems to be epidemic among baby boomers, certainly contributes to dry skin. Supplementing with thyroid can be a low risk and effective way to improve the skin, as well as increase energy and perk up the brain.

Body lotions that contain petroleum jelly (e.g. Vaseline®) or a lot of glycerin can make matters worse if they are applied to dry skin, because they will pull moisture from the skin. The best time to apply salves, butters and lotions to the skin is when the skin is moist, such as after swimming or a shower. There’s no one best lotion, potion or plant that will magically erase heel cracks. If you suspect a foot fungus or bacteria is involved in your cracked heels, find a lotion that contains tea tree oil.

Remove dead, callused and thickened skin. For most people a pumice stone works fine to maintain smooth heels, but those with heel cracks may want to try products such as the PedEgg, which looks like a metal grater and gently but effectively scrapes off layers of thick and callused skin. These products are used on dry skin. Don’t try to scrape off all the dry skin at once and for goodness sakes don’t try this with your cheese grater!

Post to Twitter

10 Responses to "Heel Cracks"

  1. Daisy Kokkinidis   June 12, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Firstly may I congratulate you on your excellent articles and the education you achieve and information you impart to women round the globe. Thank you, your contribution is invaluable.

    A small point here though:
    I disagree with the usefulness of the PedEgg.
    I found it most awkward to use. A complete waste of money.
    Ordinary FOOT FILES with a rough and smooth edge are best, especially as you have the length of the handle to better help you reach the heels.

  2. Kathie Barton   June 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I just wanted to mention that removing all calluses from feet, toes, etc. is essential for optimum health too. These cause a lack of energy flow in the body and block energy which in turn causes illness. They are like scars to the body and scars also block energy. Apply Vitamin E and A oil to scars and calluses after using a pumice stone every day.

  3. Leslie   June 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I have suffered with cracked, UGLY, bleeding heels for years, until my manicurist suggested I use a pumice stone WITH a small amount of cream rinse applied to it. I slough off the dead heel skin on a regular basis during my shower, following up with some olive oil mixed into my body lotion to moisturize. To prevent callous build up and cracks, wear shoes or sandals as much as possible, avoiding the temptation to go barefoot on tile or wood floors or outdoors during the summer. These measures have worked for me!

  4. kkaren frank   June 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Made for TV sells a stick called “Heeltastic” with Karanja and Neem oils. I am trying that. No, grinding. Smells good. ~ k

  5. B. Riddolls   June 13, 2011 at 6:39 am

    I used to have this problem and I thought it was due to my thyroid but I started taking a multi-mineral and the cracks have completely disappeared!

  6. Donna   June 30, 2011 at 9:42 am

    My cousin recommended Aquaphor by Eucerin; her doctor told her about it. It healed my dry cracked heels in a short time. I faithfully use it now. I put on after showering and walk around in flip flops until I am ready to leave for work. I wipe excess off and put on shoes or sandals. My feet look and feel smooth. It is a great product!!

  7. Virginia Hopkins   June 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Aquaphor is mostly petrolatum, aka Vaseline, which is about half the price.

  8. Pingback: Heel Cracks | iPlanet Health News

  9. Holly Kelly   July 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I really feel your pain about having dry cracked feet, this summer is killing my heels. Last month while I was at the pedicures office, I came across an article about how to heel your dry cracked feet naturally. The article claimed that the reason for dry cracked heel and feet was due to lack of moisture and nutrients. It said that Heel Vitality was specially designed to help heal dry cracked feet. The company stated that it is all natural and had a five star users rating. I never order much off of the internet but the article was really convincing. I took a chance and order a bottle, Wow it really worked great. The application was easy with the twist up tube and it had a fragrance of fresh peaches. After trying the heel stick for just 3 day, I started to notice a big difference in the way my heels looked. I would highly recommend this product for anyone with dry cracked feet. I ordered heel vitality at heelvitality.com and the cost was only $9.99.

  10. Virginia Hopkins   July 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Since this is a product promotion I should add that with shipping the cost of the product is $12.98. Although the ingredients are petrolatum-free and look good, nowhere on the site does it say the amount of product we get for that price, nor does it say anything about who makes the product and or what country it is made in. It’s all a bit sketchy.