Snehana: Mix 1 ounce Neem oil, 3 ounces sesame oil, 1 tsp turmeric, sandalwood powder, neem powder and 3 Aloe Vera pieces. Apply on affected area. Swedana: Soak feet in warm salt water for 20 min. Lepana: External application of Manjistha, Nimba and Sajarasa improves healing. Apply honey and ghee. Consume ash gourd and coconut water.
Also known as heel fissures, cracked heels can be painful and uncomfortable. The symptoms of cracked heels include redness, itching and skin inflammation. It usually occurs when the skin around the heel becomes thickened or dry. This may cause cracking or splits when under pressure. Cracked heels may also cause slight bleeding and pain.
What Causes Cracked Heels According To Ayurveda?
Cracked heels is known as Padadari according to Ayurveda. It may be caused due to the vitiation of Vata. This may make the skin dry and fissured. In extreme weather conditions (too dry or too cold), Vata increases in the body causing cracks on the heels.
Other Common Causes
Heel cracks usually occur due to insufficient moisture. Due to this, the skin gets very dry and cracks. Some common causes of cracked heels are:
- Using harsh soaps
- Lack of foot care routine ( not moisturizing the feet)
- Scrubbing dry feet
- Prolonged activity
- Medical conditions like thyroid or diabetes
- Obesity or increased weight can cause excess pressure on the heels causing callus
- Ill fitting shoes
What Are The Ayurvedic Remedies to Treat Cracked Heels?
Ayurvedic Diet For Cracked Heels
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.
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.
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.
External Application (Lepana)
Some herbs you can use for 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 Vatta 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
Application of Ghee (Shata Dhauta Grhita)
According to Ayurveda, Shata Dhauta Grhita 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 on 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 . Haritaki is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial and helps reduce burning sensation, treating cracked heels.
Application of Honey (Madhu)
Honey helps trap and seal moisture, which make it effective for 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.
- Health and Lifestyle Blog by Dr JV Hebbar B.A.M.S.
- Ediriweera, Sujatha, et al. “A clinical Study on effect of paste of Haritaki in Padadari (Cracked Feet).” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine (JAHM)2.8 (2014): 2-5.
Edited by Pragya Sharoff