I had a reader email to ask about natural remedies for cracked heels. Cracked heels can cause problems that range from minor discomfort to pain and bleeding. My husband and I met walking across the country and cracked heels were pretty common.
Cracked heels can be the result of several things:
- the way a person walks
- poor circulation
- a skin problem like eczema or psoriasis
- fungal infection
- nutritional deficiencies
Finding the Cause:
Since cracked heels can have a variety of causes, it is important to find the root of the problem. Often, I’ve seen cracked heels improve with dietary changes. Deficiencies of zinc, magnesium and omega-3 can contribute to cracked heels, and fat soluble vitamins and gelatin are also important.
Skin related problems and fungal infections can often be helped with regular detoxifying foot soaks and a homemade healing salve.
Personally, we take fermented cod liver oil daily and make it a point to consume wild-caught fish to maintain Omega-3 levels. Since zinc is important for men’s health, my husband also takes a zinc supplement regularly.
As a general rule, I suggest trying any remedy for at least a few weeks to see if it is working. For best results, try external and internal approaches at the same time.
Internal Remedies for Cracked Heels:
- Consuming enough Zinc, Magnesium and Omega-3s in food or supplement form
- Consuming Gelatin and Vitamin C which increase skin elasticity and may help reduce cracking
- Optimizing fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin D (found in Fermented Cod Liver oil, supplements or from sun exposure) and Vitamin K (found in grass-fed butter or supplements). Consuming foods like bone broth and organ meats is also helpful.
- Drinking enough water and consuming trace minerals
External Remedies for Cracked Heels:
- Exfoliating with a natural pumice stone or Ped Egg (looks like a cheese grater but it works)
- Soaking in detoxifying food baths or regular detox baths (here are my three favorite recipes)
- Adding 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm foot soak
- Using magnesium oil on the feet before bed
- Using a homemade nourishing foot salve (see below) each morning and night
- Using a homemade peppermint magnesium foot scrub to exfoliate feet in the shower
Cracked Heel Foot Salve Recipe:
- ¼ cup Shea Butter
- ¼ cup Coconut Oil
- 3 Tablespoons Beeswax
- ¼ cup Magnesium Flakes + 2 Tablespoons boiling water (Or ¼ cup of pre-made Magnesium oil, though this won’t yield as much magnesium in the final product)
- 10 drops Oregano Essential Oil (Not for use during pregnancy or on children)
- 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
- Pour 2 tablespoons of boiling water in to the magnesium flakes in a small container and stir until it dissolves. This will create a thick liquid. Set aside to cool.
- In a quart size mason jar inside a small pan with 1 inch of water, combine the coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter and turn on medium heat.
- When melted, remove the jar from the pan and let the mixture cool until room temp and slightly opaque. At this point, put in to a medium bowl or into a blender.
- If in a bowl, use a hand blender or immersion blender on medium speed and start blending the oil mixture.
- Slowly (starting with a drop at a time) add the dissolved magnesium mixture to the oil mixture while continuing blending until all of the magnesium mix is added and it is well-mixed.
- Add the oregano and peppermint essential oils if using and whip until combined.
- Put in the fridge for 15 minutes and re-blend to get body butter consistency.
- Store in fridge for a cooling lotion (best consistency) or at room temp for up to two months.
- Use on cracked heels at night. Apply a thick coat and wear socks until the salve absorbs.
For best results, exfoliate feet with dry skin using the pumice or Ped Egg, then do a detoxifying foot soak, let dry and apply the salve. Repeat as needed until problem resolves.