Padadari – Cracked Heels. Ayurvedic Remedies.
Cracked heels are a problem caused by excessively dry skin due to aggravation of the Vata dosha. It leads to abnormal thickening of the skin around the heels, inducing heel fissures.
Sushruta Samhita (Ancient Ayurvedic text) specifies the following common causes for cracked heels:
- Walking on uneven, rough surfaces
- Walking barefoot
- Vatic (dry, light, cold) food with bitter, astringent, and/or pungent taste
- Intake of coffee, tea, and other deep penetrating drinks
- Strong washing detergents
- Late-night work
- Unhygienic condition of feet
- Prolonged standing on hard floors
Due to the above-mentioned factors as well as Vata-provoking food and habits, this light and cool constitution is aggravated and produces fissures in the soles of the feet.
Modern cosmetic science mentions that cracked heels can occur due to lack of zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, calcium, and iron. To prevent this unpleasant condition you have to keep your feet well moisturized and protected from extreme temperatures, dampness, air that is too hot/cold, dust and so on.
Ayurvedic herbal treatment for cracked heels:
Cracked heels are managed effectively by a Vata-pacifying diet (see Vata Food List) and other measures such as:
oleation – medicated oil application, (see Abhyanga)
sudation – mild sweating (see Swedana)
external application of herbal creams and moisturizers.
Natural home remedies:
1. Crush ripe bananas to make paste. Apply this paste on the cracks. Leave it for 10 min. Wash off with water.
2. Crush a handful of fresh Neem leaves to make paste. Add 3 tsp turmeric powder. Mix well. Apply the paste on cracks. Leave it for 30 min. Wash off with water. Dry with a soft cloth. As turmeric leaves stain, be careful when using this remedy.
3. Cut a lemon in half. Rub it on your feet. Squeeze the lemon and apply the juice while rubbing. Continue rubbing for 5 min. Lightly scrub feet with a loofah or soft brush. Wash feet with water. Lemon juice is mildly acidic and helps remove dead skin cells.
4. Mix ¼ part of glycerin with ¾ parts of rosewater. Add juice from ½ lemon to this mixture, and set it aside to use later. Take warm water, add 1Tsp salt, mix and soak your feet in it. Let feet soak there for 15-20 minutes. You also can add some lime juice to this water so that your dead skin cells may loosen up quickly. Rub feet with pumice stone to remove dead skin cells. Pat dry and apply your glycerin mixture. Do this preferably at night before going to bed. Once your heels are cured, apply this glycerin lotion to your heels every day after having bath to prevent recurrence of cracked heels.
5. Mix 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp crashed tulsi leaves (holy basil) and 1 tsp camphor powder with 2 tsp aloe vera gel. Mix well and apply on your cracked heels. Leave for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water. Be careful, turmeric can stain your clothing.
6. Honey has moisturizing and antibacterial properties, making it an excellent treatment for dry and cracked heels.
Stir one cup of honey in a tub filled with warm water. Soak your feet in the water for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Use plain aloe vera gel, without any herbs mixed in, daily to prevent your heels from cracking.
8. Take 30 ml (1oz) of neem oil, to it add 90 ml (3oz) of sesame oil. Mix well. Add one tsp of each of turmeric powder, and/or neem powder, 3 – 4 small boiled aloe vera pieces, and/or sandalwood powder and mix well. This can be applied on daily basis. If you are experiencing a burning sensation, then the same combination can be made with ghee in place of neem and sesame oil.
TODAY’S TIP: Cracked heels are not topical problem only. All aspects of our life should be paid attention to in order to pacify the Vata Dosha. Vata leads all other doshas and what starts as a cracked heel can end up as a serious imbalance of all doshas when not treated properly and in time.