Also known as heel fissures, cracked heels is a condition known as padadari according to ayurveda, caused due to the vitiation of vata. This reduces the moisture content in the skin and as a result, makes the skin dry, cracked, and fissured. Often, in extreme weather conditions (too dry or too cold), vata increases in the body causing cracks on the heels.1 Factors such as using harsh soaps, wearing ill-fitting shoes, thyroid, obesity, and diabetes can also cause heels to crack, in addition to other symptoms like itching, inflammation, and even bleeding.
[expert_opinion expertname=’ToddCaldecott’ opinion=”Cracked heels can be treated effectively by the daily use of a pumice stone or a foot scraper to remove the callused skin. The feet can then be massaged afterwards with nourishing oils that have a small portion of melted beeswax added to help seal up the cracks.”]
1. Oleation Therapy (Snehana)
Ayurveda recommends the application of medicated oils to treat cracked heels.
To start, mix one ounce of neem oil with 3 ounces of sesame oil. Also add 1 teaspoon turmeric, neem powder, sandalwood powder and about 3-4 aloe vera pieces and stir. You can then massage this mix on the affected area on a daily basis.
In case you experience any burning or inflammation, you can use ghee instead of neem and sesame oil.
2. Sudation Therapy (Swedana)
Wash your feet with warm salt water for about 20 minutes or use steaming. This helps in smooth binding or absorption of any other medicine. After swedana, lepana can be more effective.
3. External Application Of Herbs (Lepana)
Some herbs that are helpful in treating cracked heels are:
- Manjistha or Indian madder: helps calm pitta dosha and helps heal wounds
- Nimba or neem: disinfects and helps treat cracked heels
- Yashtimadhu or licorice: helps heal wounds and is anti-inflammatory
- Sajarasa: improves healing
- Kumara or aloe vera: helps heal wounds
- Chandana or sandalwood: calms vata and pitta dosha and absorbs excess moisture
- Madhucchista or beeswax: very effective for cracked heels
- Gairika or red ochre: helps in healing wounds
- Sariva or Hemidesmus indicus: calms pitta dosha and heals wounds
- Milky Latex of peepal or Ficus religiosa: cooling effect
4. Application Of Ghee (Shata Dhauta Ghrita)
According to Ayurveda, shata dhauta ghrita or water washed ghee can be effective for cracked heels. Water washed ghee is basically ghee or clarified butter washed with water about 100 times. This changes the ghee into a white, smooth and butter-like consistency. To use ghee for cracked heels:
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric, licorice powder, Neem powder and sandalwood powder to 1 cup of water washed ghee and apply to the affected area. This mix helps relieve the burning sensation caused by cracked heels. Applying ghee mixed with turmeric is also a very effective remedy for cracked heels.
- Mix 5g of powdered pericarps of Terminalia chebula or Haritaki with 10ml of ghee and apply on affected area.2 Haritaki is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial and helps reduce burning sensation, treating cracked heels.
5. Application Of Honey (Madhu)
Honey helps trap and seal moisture, which makes it effective for treating dry and cracked heels. It is also anti-bacterial which can be a benefit if you have deeper cracks. To use honey for cracked heels:
- Mix honey with warm water and soak your feet in it for a few minutes.
- Mix 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of honey and the juice of 1/2 an orange. Before applying this mix, use a pumice stone to peel off the callused skin. Apply this paste evenly massaging it into your skin. Leave it on for about 45 minutes. Do this twice daily.
6. Ayurvedic Diet For Restoring Vata-Pitta Balance
Consume foods like ash gourd, cucumber, ghee, tender coconut water, butter, and fruits. Avoid foods that cause vata and pitta imbalances like chilly, mustard or mustard oil, pepper, bitter gourd and fried food.
|↑1||Cracked Heels: Treatment And Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Easy Ayurveda.|
|↑2||Ediriweera, Sujatha, K. K. V. S. Peshala, K. M. S. P. Perera, and A. M. H. Y. Perera. “A clinical Study on effect of paste of Haritaki in Padadari (Cracked Feet).” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine (JAHM) 2, no. 8 (2014): 2-5.|