What are thickened heels?
Thickened heels are a common problem and can be the result of any number of factors. From the climate in which you live (people are more susceptible to thickened heels if they live somewhere warm and dry), to genetic issues and poorly fitting shoes, few people go through life without suffering from some degree of cracked heels at one point or another.
Also known as heel fissures, this ailment is a common foot condition, and, if untreated, the cracks can go from uncomfortable to painful, to – in some more extreme incidents – cases where cracked feet may even begin to bleed. Usually caused by dry skin (we’ll go on to explore the reasons behind dry skin later on), cracked heels become more difficult to treat when the skin around the heel is thickened or callused, and, again – in more severe cases – the cracks and fissures are likely to become infected if untreated.
The symptoms of cracked heels are broken skin on the heels of your feet which can lead to discomfort, pain and bleeding. Unless due diligence is paid to this ailment, bacteria is prone to enter through the breaks in the skin, which subsequently can lead to infection. If infected, the area can become red, swollen and warm or painful to touch.
What causes thickened heels?
Before looking at ways in which to prevent thickened heels, it’s essential that you know the reason behind them. A lack of moisture is one of the most common causes, but deficiencies such as an absence of vitamins and minerals in one’s diet can also go some way to explaining cracked heels. Ageing skin can cause thickened heels to worsen, indeed, as skin ages it too becomes more prone to dryness, which can have a knock on effect on the skin’s integrity all over your body, including your feet. Obesity can also be a contributing factor – due in part to the increase of pressure on the fat pad under the heel. If you’re a frequent wearer of open-backed shoes or sandals, this can also be a contributing cause, as they can allow fat under the heel to expand sideways, thus increasing the possibility of cracks on your heels. Standing for prolonged periods in damp areas, such as a bathroom, can also cause dry and cracked heels, as can a lack of hygiene when it comes to looking after your feet.
Cracked heels is a problem that can affect both adults and children alike, it is more commonly found in women and it’s thought that over twenty percent of adults suffer from it. Whatever the cause behind your cracked heels, essentially they are triggered when the skin around your heels splits apart, meaning that a combination of dryness and pressure means the skin is no longer able to keep up hydration levels, ultimately becoming fragile and subsequently forming cracks in the skin.
And while for many among us, having cracked heels isn’t a serious issue, for others it can cause severe amounts of discomfort – especially when going barefoot – and in some cases the cracks can become very deep and painful. However, there are ways in which to rectify cracked heels and depending on the reason behind your dry and dehydrated feet, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent them.
How to prevent cracked heels
There are numerous ways to prevent, treat and cure this common foot condition, from natural home remedies to medical foot balms and more. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach for healing cracked heels, if you follow these solutions, foot fissures will soon be a thing of the past for you.
- If you’re looking for a natural way to alleviate cracked heels, try using honey. A natural remedy for foot fissures, honey not only has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, but it too is proven to heal and cleanse wounds. It can be used as a foot scrub after a soak, or as an overnight mask.
- Coconut oil is another natural remedy for hardened skin on your heels, due in part to its moisturizing and both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Often recommended for dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis, it’s excellent at helping skin retain moisture, and also has the ability to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin.
- A home-made foot scrub made up of two to three tablespoons of ground rice, a few drops of honey, apple cider vinegar, and a teaspoon of olive oil for severely cracked feet, will exfoliate the skin for satin-soft and soothed heels.
- Soaking your feet is a way to help soften your heels and it’s an easy and relaxing way to tend to dry feet. Simply soak them in warm and soapy water for up to twenty minutes, before using a pumice stone or foot file to gently rid your feet of built up dead skin. If you find the warm and soapy water ineffective, you might like to try adding a splash of vinegar to the water instead – a diluted form of acetic acid that is both versatile and harmless, the anti-fungal activities of vinegar can be a powerful tool when treating dry and damaged heels. If, however, you do opt for vinegar when soaking your feet, limit your foot bath to ten minutes or so, as soaking your feet for any longer in vinegar can result in even drier feet.
- A great option to try – particularly for anyone who’s suffering from deep and painful cracks - is to apply a liquid bandage to the broken skin on your heels, which will effectively seal the cracks and prevent any infection from occurring. A spray-like product, simply apply to feet and go about your day as usual.
The benefits of a therapeutic and fast solution
While the above natural solutions can certainly go some way to fixing cracked heels and foot fissures, if you want a fast and guaranteed fix give you the best chance of smooth heels and an end to any pain or discomfort that cracked heels can cause, NS8 Heel Balm Complex is a fast acting solution that offers quick relief from painful heels.
Recommended by both podiatrists and diabetes educators, this non-greasy and intensive cream formulation absorbs quickly and restores very dry, cracked heels and feet. Filled with an abundance of powerful ingredients, including natural moisturisers, coconut emollients and allantoin; natural exfoliants, AHAs - lactic & malic acid (derived from milk and fruit), natural emollients & hydrators, aloe vera, evening primrose oil & grape seed oil as well as natural vitamins and plant extracts vitamin C, thyme and sage, extracts of arnica, calendula and menthol, this potent product is also free from petro-chemicals, paraffin, parabens, propylene glycol, lanolin, colours and perfumes.
It contains natural exfoliants to remove thickened skin and calluses without the need for a foot file or pumice stone, and the effects are immediate; alleviating any pain or soreness and providing soft and smooth heels within a matter of days.
A no-mess, no-fuss, powerful, potent and effective solution for cracked heels, the NS8 Heel Balm Complex is the go-to product for anyone who wants to heal their heels – and fast.