Cracked heels are more than a beauty problem. They can be painful and there’s a risk of bacteria entering the body through the cracks.  

Getting rid of cracked heels

Anyone can get cracked heels, which are sometimes called heel fissures. Cracks can form as a result of dry skin, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. There’s also a greater risk of cracked heels if you have diabetes.

The first thought when you notice cracked heels is something like “Yuk! My feet look old and awful!”, which might send you scurrying to the pedicurist. But an unattractive appearance is just part of the problem. The deeper problem is the cracks themselves, because they can provide bacteria with access to the body, potentially leading to a condition known as cellulitis. For diabetics, cracked heels can lead to diabetic foot ulcers, which can take a long time to heal.

Treating heel cracks requires a two-pronged approach:

  1. Regularly apply an emollient, to soften and moisturise the skin. Natural emollients include shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax.
  2. Use an antibacterial substance, to help prevent infection.

Recently released in New Zealand, ManukaRx® ointment really helps cracked heels because it’s both an emollient and an antibacterial.

The star ingredient in ManukaRx® ointment is manuka oil, which is naturally rich in β-triketones, a group of organic compounds that are high in antibacterial properties and beneficial against harmful bacteria that live on the skin‘s surface. Along with manuka oil, a ManukaRx®™ ointment contains castor seed oil, sunflower seed oil, beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter.

How to treat cracked heels with ManukaRx® ointment:

  • Apply ointment twice a day – after your morning shower, then again at night
  • You can wear light cotton socks at night to ensure ointment doesn’t rub off on the sheets; alternatively, cover with a gauze pad secured with sticking plasters
  • Once cracks have healed, continue with the treatment two or three times a week to prevent reoccurrence

[1] http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/cracked-heels/

[2] http://maxa.maf.govt.nz/sff/about-projects/search/00-200/00200-finalreport.pdf