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Definition

Cracked heels are a common foot problem. The skin is normally dry and may have a thick callus which appears as yellow or dark brown discolored area of skin, especially along the inside border of the heel. It is important to heal cracked heels at the first sign of their appearance. If left untreated they develop into painful deep cracks. They may also bleed and become infected. Cracked heels can be embarrassing. In most people this is a nuisance and a cosmetic problem but when the fissures are deep, the skin bleeds easily and is usually very painful.

Causes

There are many potential causes of "cracked heels". In some cases a person may have naturally dry skin that increases the risk of Cracked Heels. Callous that forms around the heel is prone to cracking due to mechanical factors that increase pressures in that area e.g. the way a person walks. Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a variety of skin conditions which include cracked heels. Since this needed element is something your body cannot produce you must either get it from foods or supplemental nutrition. Walking bare foot for quite a long time. Continued pressure on feet causes cracking of skin on heels. This may be due to prolonged standing or over weight. Vitamin, minerals and zinc deficiencies can also contribute to the condition. Cracked heels are seen often in the elderly and females suffer from the condition more frequently than males.

Symptoms

The first sign of getting cracked heels is the development of dry, hard, thickened skin around the rim of the heel. This is called a callus and may be yellow or dark brown discoloured area of skin.
Common symptoms are-

  • Dark or yellow skin of the foot
  • Severe pain in open back shoes or thin soles
  • Cracked and peeling skin
  • Hard skin on the heel of foot
  • Experience pain during walking barefoot
  • Itchy skin
  • Flaky or red patches on the foot’s skin

Treatment

Soak your heels in lukewarm water and use a pumice-stone to scrub off dead skin to smooth the heels or use a foot scrubs after soaking the feet in lukewarm water. Apply a deep moisturizing lotion or Vaseline and put on the socks to cover it for sometime. This method will protect the feet from excessive dryness.

Use a pumice stone to reduce the thickness of the hard skin. Avoid wearing open backed shoes or thin soled shoes. Wear shoes with a good shock absorbing sole.

Never try to pare down the hard skin your self with a razor blade or a pair of scissors.

Another result oriented solution is to melt paraffin wax and mix it well with little mustard oil. Apply on the dry or cracked area of the heels. Rinse it off in the morning. A continuous application for 10 to15 days can achieve desirable results.

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