by: Tony Isaacs
(NaturalNews) Cracked heels and other foot cracks are usually caused by a combination of pressure and dry, non-pliable skin. Standing and walking applies pressure which makes the skin on the bottom of the feet expand sideways. If the skin is not sufficiently pliable, cracking can result. Known medically as heel fissures, cracked heels are linear cut wounds which usually affect the surface level, or epidermis, of the heel. When the cracks extend beyond the epidermis, they can result in pain, bleeding and even infection. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies for treating and preventing cracked heels.
Cracked heels are most often a result of lack of proper foot care and may also be caused by dietary deficiencies. In particular, diets which fail to provide adequate zinc and essential omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to cracked heels and other dry skin problems. Zinc rich foods include oysters, organic chicken, crab, kidney beans, yogurt, and brown rice. Omega-3 fatty acids are largely found in cold water fish and healthy oils such as flaxseed.
Other important vitamins and minerals include:
-Vitamin E, which is found in green vegetables, wheat germ, whole-grain products and nuts.
-Calcium, which can be found in organic raw certified cow or goat milk, organic cheeses, yogurt, dark leafy vegetables and broccoli. Most people get plenty of calcium but fail to get the essential mineral magnesium which is necessary for proper absorption and utilization of calcium.
-Iron, which is found in certified organic meats, including beef, chicken and fish, as well as organic free range eggs, vegetables and beans.
Some suggestions for easy foot care which can help prevent cracked heels are:
-Keep your feet clean and dirt free.
-Exercise feet regularly.
-Follow a daily regimen of cleansing and moisturizing.
-Gently exfoliate the feet when needed.
-Alternate hot and cold water for a feet bath to soothe the feet.
Remedies for Cracked Heels and Feet
One of the most effective remedies for getting rid of foot cracks and dry heels is using foot socks in combination with healing oils and moisturizers. Before going to sleep, liberally apply one or more oils such as almond, grapeseed oil and/or olive oil to the heels and feet, put on a pair of thick cotton socks and then leave on all night. Other good oils and moisturizers include: lanolin, cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil.
Another great remedy for dry, crusty or "alligator skin" is raw papaya. Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins and which has been referred to as "organic alpha-hydroxy substitute". Pineapple contains a similar enzyme, but it's much easier to mash a piece of papaya and use it like a masque on your heels than it is to use pineapple.
Milk and honey can be very effective for obtaining softer, smoother feet without harsh exfoliation. Pour one cup of honey per each two cups of milk into a basin large enough to hold both feet. Soak for 15 minutes, lightly massaging the mixture into skin. You can also use the milk/honey combo to soak elbows or hands, or pat gently onto the face and massage in. Rinse with tepid water
Other natural remedies for cracked heels include:
-Apply the pulp of a ripe banana on the dry or cracked area. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse clean. Continue doing this at least once daily as long as needed.
-Soak the feet in lemon juice for about 10 minutes. Continue every day as needed.
-Regularly apply a mixture of glycerin and rosewater.