There are many reasons for cracked heels including dry skin, flip flops, or health issues. Regardless of why you may have them, the cracks and fissures can be a health risk for you. We see it every day, but people don’t really think about taking care of their feet. It’s not until we point out that it can hurt their health. Then, the light bulb goes on. Many think that the cause of their feet problems is that they don’t take care of their feet, but in many, many cases that is simply not true.
Having cracked heels is a very common problem, so don’t be embarrassed by them. We are here to help you. If you don’t take care of them, they can get worse, get deeper, and become not only dangerous to your health but painful. The reason we focus so much on cracked heels is that the “crack” or “fissure” as it is known, can attract bacteria, germs, and be a downer for your lymphatic system. People don’t realize what a simple break in the skin can lead to, especially for your immune system.
The Symptoms Treatment & Prevention
We will discuss what causes the cracks from dry air to an unhealthy diet to improper foot care. We will also discuss what doesn’t work like warm water, soaking, or applying a moisturizer. The myths abound that if your heels are just moisturized that the cracking will be reduced. In some cases, that will work. In many cases that will not work. Putting moisturizer on a hard, dry cracked heel is like putting moisturizer on aboard. It will never soak in.
What causes cracked heels are not exactly what we would call a fun, beautiful kind of post, but it’s still an important topic we should address. If you have rough heels or heels that are really dry, it’s not only a beauty issue but a health issue. What causes cracked heels is not always a lack of attention or moisturizing. Some say foot problems are a result of neglect. More often than not, once you are educated on the causes, symptoms, and remedies, you can make a great decision on how to care for your feet.
The Most Common Causes of Cracked Heels
- Dry skin or callus on the heel that will crack due to activity like walking barefoot on tile floors or wood floors. The combination of the hard surface with the fact that the moisture is removed from the foot by going without shoes increases the chances for cracks.
- Zinc or Omega-3 deficiency. Both nutrients are very important to the health of the skin, especially the feet. The lack of Omega-3 and Omega-6 can dramatically decrease the oil in the skin.
- Diabetes and those with sugar difficulties (hypoglycemia) seem to be more prone to cracked heels. The lack of circulation seems to be a key issue in the dryness of the feet and legs.
- Overweight and obese people increase the pressure on the bottom of the foot, which causes the heel to spread to either side of the foot. The extra padding on the sole of the foot gets thinner is most likely to crack. This also happens with mules and open-backed sandals as the shoe does not hold the sole close to the bone of the foot.
- Skin and Fungus diseases like candida, psoriasis, eczema, and athlete’s foot all seem to lead to drier feet and the tendency to get cracks. This is the body’s skin reacting systemically. Something that you are eating or drinking is causing the skin to become dry and scaly.
- Water robs the oils from the skin and can lead to dry, rough heels. Standing in water for long periods dries out the heel, leading to cracked skin.
- Age. Darn that age thing. It is so responsible for so many things, wrinkles, dry skin, and unfortunately cracks in your heels. Part of the age problem comes as you lose oils in your skin, you don’t hydrate enough, and years of wearing shoes that might not fit properly.
There are many indicators about your health that is “told” by your feet. Your foot health shows if your body is operating properly. The feet are such a vital part of your support, but the farthest from the heart. This means that the nutrients and oxygen meant for the body to be healthy sometimes don’t make it to the feet. Diseases and skin issues are just an indicator that a medical condition may be causing them.
Symptoms of Cracked Heels and Dry Feet
Symptom #1 – Itchy Skin
Itchy Skin is caused by top layers of skin being too dry, and not hydrated enough. The upper layers of the skin actually shrink, causing the skin below to spread out. This shrinkage of the skin from being over dry results in itchiness. The remedy for itchy skin is to exfoliate the dead skin. This can be done with a professional pedicure or a stainless steel pedicure foot file combined with a soft foot scrub. The scrub exfoliates the upper dead skin. Use a foot cream containing oils or other lipids to keep the feet soft.
Symptom #2 – Flaky Patches or Red Patches
Flaky Patches or Red Patches result from dry skin. The skin can be dry from two sources, lack of lipids (oils) in the skin or lack of water (hydration) in the skin. Both can come from external and internal sources. The lack of lipids internally results from a lack of omega 3’s and omega 6’s in the skin. The lack of hydration comes from the lack of water. Not only is it good to fix the hydration internally, but it helps to use products externally that help with dry feet. One product developed by Footlogix, a Pediceutical foot care company, is the Footlogix 3 Very Dry Skin Formula. This Bella star product helps to lock in moisture without being greasy.
Symptom #3 – Peeling or Cracked Skin
The first two symptoms lead to the eventual cracking and peeling of the feet. At this point, the skin has gotten very dry and brittle. You may also have fungus issues as toe and foot fungus may go along with the dry skin. The skin on the feet can be so dry that it actually cracks the soles of the foot and the skin starts falling off. At this point, some people may pick or pull at the skin. This is something that should be done by a professional, as the new skin underneath will not have a tough enough surface. It is critical that you start taking care of your feet because the next symptom puts you at total risk of infections.
Symptom #4 – Deep Crevices, Bleeding, or Discharge from Cracks
Now you have a serious problem because the skin on the feet is completely compromised. The dryness or fungus or yeast has affected the upper layers of the skin. This, in turn, has hurt the soles of the feet (the lower layers of skin) with cracks, gashes, and cuts. The cracks can now affect your health with infections, bacteria, germs, and fungus. It is critical that you get care and products. Consult a podiatrist and use anti-fungus or anti-bacterial foot products. Applying foot care products, wearing socks and closed-toe shoes is a great start to helping your feet heal. The crevices just like any cut on your body, need to heal. The fact that the crack is on the bottom of the foot, makes it harder to heal.
Cracked heels can hurt your health. Let’s find out how to prevent them and keep them from coming back so your #bellahealth is not affected. Keep following Mi Bella Reina for more information on keeping your feet healthy and free from cracks and fissures.