Cracked heels are caused when the skin becomes so dry and brittle that under the pressure of our weight, it simply splits apart. For most people it doesn’t cause any health issues and can look unappealing, but for others the cracks can be very deep, leading to irritation, bleeding and increased risk of infection. Because of this, if you see signs of dryness or cracks, it’s best to act sooner, rather than later.
So, what can you do about them? Read on to find out how to care for your cracked heels and get them soft and supple again.
Handle with care – When the skin is cracked, it’s very fragile and so when touching it, be very gentle and always make sure your hands are clean to reduce the risk of infection.
Remove irritation – Try to work out what could have caused your heels to become dry and irritated in the first place. If it’s poorly fitting socks or open back shoes, avoid them and switch to something more comfortable.
Nourish the skin – Use an intense moisturiser, such as Flexitol Heel Balm <link>, to replenish the skin, applying first thing in the morning and at least 2 – 3 times a day.
Remove hard skin – Cracked heels normally have thicker skin which can be hard and rough. Soak your feet for 10 – 20 minutes to soften them, then gently use a pumice stone or loofah to slowly exfoliate some of the excess skin away. Stop immediately if you feel any pain and moisturise straight afterwards.
Put your feet up – Certain activities can put extra strain on the feet, such as high impact aerobics, running and weightlifting. While your heels are recovering, try to take it easy.
Protect from further damage – Adding a cushioned insole to your shoes can help take some of the pressure off your fragile feet and if your heels are particularly damaged, consider wrapping them in bandages to help prevent infection.
Keep going – Once your heels are repaired, don’t stop being kind to your feet! Moisturise this hardworking area regularly and apply a hydrating foot mask such as the Intense Overnight Foot Treatment <link>, once a week.
If your cracked heels don’t improve or cause you pain, speak to your doctor for more information. Those with an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, obesity or psoriasis should always check with a doctor first before attempting to self-treat cracked heels.
Find out more about Flexitol’s range of deeply moisturising creams and balms, specifically designed for nourishing and soothing cracked heels, here.