Cracked heels are very common. They can be painful, unattractive, and very upsetting - especially to those of us who love sandals.
Usually, cracked skin on our heels and feet is caused by excessively dry skin. For many it's worse in the winter months or for those who live in dry climates. But going barefoot and wearing shoes with open backs can exaserbate the problem, meaning that even in the summer our feet are in rough shape.
Unfortunately, as the condition worsens, it becomes more difficult to treat, since regular moisturizers won't penetrate the dry, dead, thick skin on our heels.
It's important to note that skin problems on our feet can be a sign of other health issues, and particularly people with diabetes, skin or circulation problems will want to discuss any foot care regimen with their doctor before beginning. If the cracks on your heels are very deep or bleeding, you'll also want to speak with your doctor.
If like most of us, you're just suffering from worn and weathered skin, here is the routine I used to recently combat a very bad case of very dry and cracked skin on my heels.
Products UsedFlexitol Heel Balm
- This product is recommended for adults only, but is apparently safe for diabetic feet. It is available at most drug or general stores, or online - I purchased it at Target for under $5 (U.S).
- Items like these are definitely NOT recommended for people with diabetes or circulation problems. There are other products that are similar to this metal file, but I opted for this one because it was easy to find and very cheap - about $4 (U.S) at Target. It does not have a sandpaper surface, nor does it have holes in it. Rather, it has raised metal bumps - small on one side, and larger on the other.
A similar product is the Diamancel Diamond File For Foot Calluses #20. It runs about $40 (U.S), and though I've never used it, it's received rave reviews, and is apparently top notch for removing callouses or thick, cracked skin.
Eliminating Cracked HeelsDr. Scholl's recommends soaking your feet before using the Callus reducer, though I must admit that I only sometimes I soaked first. Other times I used it on dry skin, or straight out of the shower.
I filed the skin on my heels, moving the file in one direction only, as instructed on the package. I filed for as long as I could, or until my heels felt smooth to the touch. I could still SEE the cracks, but I couldn't feel the rough skin just by touching it.
Next, I rubbed in the Flexitol. This stuff doesn't smell great, although I didn't find it terribly offensive. It is, however, very greasy. I learned very quickly to put socks on immediately after using it, and before I stood up to walk across the bathroom floor. When I didn't put on socks right away, I ended up wiping the slick spots off of the floor, and almost taking a dive in doing so.
The Flexitol package recommends using the product twice a day - which I did for all of about one day. Then I cut back to only once a day, each time using the file first, then following with the balm.
When I started, my heels were in such bad shape, I thought I'd have to skip sandals this season. I assumed that getting rid of the thick, cracked skin would take a long time. Happily, I noticed results after the first "treatment" and within a few days, my feet were nearly back to normal.