Cracked Heels and Dry Skin on Feet: Know the Facts

Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, CNE, COI on February 15, 2017Written by Jerisha Parker Gordon on February 15, 2017

Overview

Have you ever treated yourself to a pedicure? The skin on the bottom of your feet may be absolutely beautiful and as silky soft as a baby’s bottom, only for it to feel rougher than sandpaper a day later. Do you feel as though the skin on the bottom of your feet is the roughest skin on your body, or that your heels are always cracked? If so, you’re not alone. There are many ways to soothe your rough skin and cracked heels.

Home remedies for cracked heels and dry feet

home remedies for cracked heels

If you want to tackle the symptoms of dry feet and cracked heels at home before seeing a doctor, here are some things you can try.

Oatmeal bath

Create an oatmeal bath by searching for an easy recipe online. You probably have many of the items needed to create the bath in your kitchen cupboard. If not, all of the ingredients are reasonable in price and you can easily grab them at your local grocery store. Soak your feet in this soothing mixture with lukewarm water and relax. After about 20 minutes, remove your feet with a clean towel and carefully pat your feet and ankles dry. Then to lock in moisture, try coating your feet in a hydrating lotion, cocoa butter, or olive oil. Your feet and ankles should be silky smooth.

Epsom salt

You can also try to sooth your feet and heels with an Epsom salt bath. You can purchase Epsom salt at any drugstore. Follow the directions on the package and you’re on your way to an all-natural, soothing foot bath.

Traditional treatments for dry feet and cracked heels

traditional treatments

If you would rather try other ways to manage the symptoms of your cracked heels and dry feet, you can simply visit the skin care aisle and grab a hydrating cream or lotion with shea butter or aloe. Other lotion ingredients like salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, saccharide isomerate, and urea can all ease symptoms of dry feet. These products vary in price and last for an undetermined amount of time.

To see a change in your feet and heels, after your bath you’ll want to coat your feet and heals and then put on clean, dry socks to help lock in the added moisture. This works best at night.

If you tend to treat yourself to pedicures, ask your nail technician if you can add a paraffin wax treatment to your session. The technician will cover your feet in warm, melted wax after they have cleaned your feet. Once the wax has slightly cooled, they will remove it, revealing soft, smooth, and moisturized skin. Depending on the dryness of your feet and the cracks in your heels, you could get relief for a few days.

Should these remedies not provide you with the relief you had hoped for, your doctor might be able to help. After your doctor reviews your situation, they may prescribe an oral antibiotic if they determine that the cause of your dry feet or cracked heels is an infection. If your dry feet or cracked heels are not because of an infection, your doctor may suggest a prescription version of a hydrocortisone cream.

What causes cracked heels and dry feet?

Dry feet may have no known cause. Some people have naturally dry skin and feet. Your feet may also be dry if they are always exposed to extreme cold or hot weather or because you choose to always walk on outside surfaces barefoot or in sandals. Other times, there are medical reasons that you should look into further.

Eczema

If the skin is itchy, dry, and with scratching becomes flaky or begins to peel, you could be experiencing eczema. Eczema is a common skin condition that can affect anyone at any age. Your doctor can properly diagnose you. If it is eczema, they can suggest over-the-counter solutions such as creams and lotions. If these products don’t work for you, your doctor can prescribe stronger creams and lotions.

Athlete’s foot

Dry feet may also be a symptom of athlete’s foot, which can happen if your feet are damp or in sweaty socks for long periods of time. Athlete’s foot is a fungus that can spread among friends and family members who share towels and damp areas like bathrooms.

Cracked heels can also occur if you wear sweaty or damp socks for extended periods of time. In extreme cases, heels that are always irritated because of pressure from walking and shoes that are too tight may begin to bleed.

Preventing dry feet and cracked heels

First for both dry feet and cracked heels, try your best to avoid exposing your feet to extremely hot or cold weather. You can protect your feet from both weather conditions by wearing proper footwear at all times. This would include correctly fitting shoes and dry socks, in all seasons.

For cracked heels and dry skin, try your best not to expose your feet to really hot water when bathing. Also, review the type of soap you are using to clean your body. It may be drying out your skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate and artificial fragrances are the main ingredients to avoid when you have dry skin and are choosing a soap.

Outlook

The good news is that you can manage your dry feet and cracked heels with very simple remedies. While your feet may never resemble those of a baby, with the right care they will always be presentable. You’ll be able to put your best foot forward in any situation.

CMS Id: 116240