When I married my husband, he had horribly cracked heels. Apparently, he’d had these most of his life, but as we learned more about natural living, I set out to find natural remedies for it. In the summertime especially, when feet are more exposed (hopefully barefoot or in minimalist shoes), cracked heels can be a problem.
Beyond appearance, cracked heels can be really uncomfortable and can mean anything from minor discomfort to pain and bleeding. My husband and I met walking across the country (true story!) and cracked heels (let alone blisters, shin splints, and other ailments) were our constant companions, so we have a little experience with this.
Why Do I Have Cracked Heels?
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, especially omega-3 or zinc deficiency
Let’s see how to size up the situation.
Cracked Heels: The Cure Fits the Cause
Since cracked heels have a variety of causes, it is important to find the root of the problem.
The condition of skin often reflect internal health (or problems). Deficiencies of zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 can contribute to chronically cracked heels. I’ve seen this condition improve with dietary changes, such as adding fat-soluble vitamins and getting gelatin in the diet.
Personally, we take omega-3 supplements 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.
Externally, cracked heel causes can include skin conditions or fungal infections. Often these can be helped with regular detoxifying foot soaks or a concentrated salve.
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.
Cracked Heel Remedy #1: Diet
- Consume enough zinc, magnesium and omega-3s in food or supplement form
- Consume gelatin and vitamin C (which increases skin elasticity) to help reduce cracking
- Optimize fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin K (found in grass-fed butter or supplements)
- Consume foods like bone broth and organ meats
- Drink more water and increase intake of trace minerals
Cracked Heel Remedy #2: A Little TLC
- Exfoliate with a natural pumice stone or Ped Egg (looks like a cheese grater but it works)
- Soak in detoxifying food baths or regular detox baths (here are my three favorite recipes)
- Add ½ cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm foot soak
- Use magnesium oil on the feet before bed
- Use a homemade nourishing foot salve (see below) each morning and night
- Exfoliate feet in the shower with natural foot scrub like my homemade peppermint magnesium foot scrub
The Recipe: DIY Foot Salve for Cracked Heels
- ¼ cup shea butter
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 3 TBSP beeswax
- ¼ cup magnesium flakes + 2 TBSP 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 into the magnesium flakes in a small container and stir until dissolved. This will create a thick liquid. Set aside to cool.
- Set a quart-size mason jar inside a small pan with 1 inch of water. Add the coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter to the jar. Melt slowly over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- When melted, remove the jar from the pan and let the mixture cool until room temperature and slightly opaque. At this point, put into 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 to blend. Continue 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 best consistency (and a cooling lotion feel), or at room temperature for up to two months.
Apply the salve to cracked heels at night.
For best results, a few steps are needed:
- Exfoliate feet while dry, using the pumice or Ped Egg.
- Do a detoxifying foot soak. Let skin dry fully.
- Apply a thick coat of salve. Wear socks to bed to keep salve where it’s needed (and to keep sheets clean).
- Repeat as needed until problem resolves!
Note: Do not use oregano or peppermint essential oils on children or while pregnant. As with any medical condition, check with a doctor if things don’t improve or if you have any specific concerns.
Do you have cracked heels? What natural remedies have you tried? Share below!