Cracked heels treatment and remedies

Cracked heels

SKIN – Cracked heels
Our skin is a good barometer which indicates how healthy the body is. Skin acts as a covering and works as a defence force against infection. It protects our body from heat or cold, external germs, noxious chemicals or toxins, etc. The most common friction spots harden to give additional protection against injury, whereas other parts remain soft. Dry parched skin indicates its poor quality.
Cracks mean initial, partial break or interruptions in continuity. Cracks are also medically termed as fissures. Fissures are regular linear cut wounds – mostly superficial which involve epidermis. Sometimes it may get deep into the dermis and become painful.
Cracks in the skin can arise anywhere in the body. The commonest site is the rim of the heel and web of toes, which are the most frequently or constantly used parts of our body. The cracks usually occur on the edges or at the junction of two different types of skins, for example the rim of the heel, corners of the mouth, lips, anus, nipple, webs of the fingers, ear folds, etc. Skin problems cause physical and psychological stress
Cracks in the heel or heel fissures are most commonly seen in older people or persons who constantly walk barefoot. It can affect either both the heels or one of the heel. But most commonly, it is seen on both the heels. Likewise, fissures are more common with diseases like diabetes, eczema, psoriasis, etc. Females suffer most commonly than males, “with more indulgence in water, causing cracks”. But, unfortunately, people living in dry climates have higher incidence than persons in wet regions.
Causes – The occurrence of cracks may be due to external or internal factors. But dry skin or dryness is the prime cause.
External factors
  • Pressure and frequent movements
  • Standing for a long time
  • Change in walking posture
  • Summer heat
  • Over or constant indulgence in water
Unhygienic circumstances or conditions
Internal factors
  • Unhealthy, dry scaly skin due to climate or diseases
  • Thick dry scaly skin with loss of elasticity due to ageing – cracks have higher incidence over age
  • Deformity of foot due to congenital problem or injury or diseases – Flat foot, calcaneal spurs, etc
  • Diseases like diabetes, eczema and psoriasis can also contribute to cracked feet
  • Deficiency of vitamins, minerals and zinc
Obese (everyone can notice cracks on an elephant’s foot due to overweight and dryness) 
Symptoms – Cracks in the rim of the heel or soles or web of toes are the main symptoms. The length and width may vary depending upon the position and pressure exerted. The edges of the cracks are usually raised as crusts and resist healing. Other than fissures, mostly there won’t be any symptoms. But in extreme cases, pain will be more with bleeding and restriction of movement. Also, there will be pain in the cracks while walking or standing or touching the part. Red raw part may show in some deep ulcers. Discharges can occur in case of infection.
Preventive measures
Caring for skin

  • Keep soles clean
  • Wear soft, cushioned, comfortable shoes or slippers
  • Wear socks to prevent friction
  • Apply oil, if there is dryness
  • Take rich sources of vitamins – fruits, dates, leafy vegetables etc.
  • Walking bare foot
  • Tight shoes
  • Standing for a long time in water
  • Contact of bleaching powder or any other chemical
Using strong chemical soaps
Self management is mainly for cushioning the skin to protect it from further damage and for moisturising or lubricating to promote the healing process in a better way.
Clean and keep it soft
  • Wash properly at bed time and make sure that sand or mud particles are not present inside the cracks
Make it dry for 10-15 minutes and then apply moisturiser cream or vaseline or oil, since immediate application of vaseline, after washing, will trap water inside the cracks and won’t let them to dry speedily. Also water inside the cracks can promote infection

Avoid for better healing
  • Sporting activities during the healing process
  • Barefoot walking to avoid mud getting into the cracks
  • Any friction or injury or chemical contact
  • Picking or peeling of skin since it may become red and sore
  • Sour foods, non-veg, fast foods, oily foods

For better healing
  • Do skin scrapping to reduce the thickness of the skin
  • Soak the soles in lukewarm water for 10 minutes and scrap mildly to reduce thickness. Some rub the foot against the floor or use stones or scrubber or loofah (mesh from the vegetable) while bathing, with the same result
  • Don’t be cruel in removing the thick skin to prevent injury
Apply petroleum jelly or vaseline or parraffin oil after drying the area

 – Usually, there won’t be any complications. But when the cracks are deep and sufferer is diabetic, then there lies the danger of bleeding, infection and serious complications. So cracks must be attended to in the initial period itself or otherwise it may extend the damage to the internal organs of the body like the crack in a building ruining the whole structure when left un-repaired. Also it is often noticed that suppressing the cracked heels with steroidal ointments will lead to respiratory or asthma complaints. The relationship is not clearly known.

General treatment
 – In Allopathy, mostly internal medicines are not prescribed. Only in extremely painful deep cracks, antibiotics are used to control the infection. But the course of antibiotics often manages the situation temporarily and the cracks recur once you stop the medicines. External applications like germicidal or bactericidal or antiseptic or steroids are also commonly prescribed. These applications also clear the complaint very temporarily i.e. while in use. Vaseline or liquid paraffin is commonly advised for moisturising.
Homeopathic approach

Treating any skin disorder is very tough, since it is the outermost part of the body and also often exposed to irritants or pollutants or frictions, which hinder the action of drugs. Also, recurrence is common in most skin disorders, giving no exception for cracks too. Usually, external treatment won’t cure any complaints. So it is better to avoid topical medicinal applications except moisturiser, since ointments or creams will suppress the complaints for the time of use only. Also, if they are used continuously, due to development of drug resistance, the condition may worsen.
Homoeopathic treatment believes in internal treatment and can give permanent cure to cracks. In Homeopathy, cracks are considered as an outburst of an internal disease, which should be treated internally. So, the internal Homoeopathy medicine is often the best natural option to stop recurrence of cracks by raising natural resistance and treating dry skin without any side-effects. This roots out the cause and disease. The right drug selected constitutionally may take some time to act, but once it has started its action, it rides in smooth top gear in the right direction of cure, for resolving the cracks and to control recurrence.
Homeopathic medicines commonly used in cases of cracks or fissures are Acid nit, Antim-crud, Apis mel, Ars alb, Bacillinum, Borax, Carbo animalis, Graphites, Hepar sulph, Hydrocotyle, Kali ars, Kali bich, Kali Brom, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Medorrhinum, Merc sol, Nat mur, Opium, Petroleum, Psorinum, Pulsatilla, Pyrogen, Ranunculosis bulbosis, Rhus tox, Silicea, Sulphur, Thuja, Tuberculinum, etc.. These Medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.

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