The Awful Cracked Heels
As the saying of Leonardo da Vinci goes, “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”. Be it a long difficult trek or a graceful dance, the human feet, and their health, play an important role. One of the most common ailments that affect the feet is cracks in the foot. Cracked feet are called Padadari in Ayurveda.
Cracked feet are a clinical condition characterized by dry, itchy skin with hardness around the rim of the heel and cracks or fissures on the outer edge of the heel. The causes for cracked feet are intake of dry, rough, sharp, hot, and spicy food, junk and oily food, and excessive intake of raw food. Activities like increased walking, walking barefoot, exposure to cold, and standing for a long duration gives rise to cracked feet. Obesity, diabetes, and lack of daily routine also cause cracked feet.
Due to the above causative factors, vata located in the sole produce painful cracks in excessively rough feet called Padadari. The symptoms of Padadari are dryness of feet, cracks, and fissures, red flaky patches, itching of the skin, and pain rarely associated with bleeding and burning.
Ayurveda has suggested a range of remedies for cracked feet. Padabyanga is one of the foremost practices suggested for healthy feet. Padabhyanga refers to a foot massage with medicated oils. This practice is to be followed as a part of dinacharya (daily routine). It is more beneficial when done at night. The benefits of Padabhyanga are it reduces the roughness, stiffness, dryness, and tiredness of the feet. It increases the strength of the feet and provides stability. It is also beneficial to prevent cracks and fissures in the feet and sciatica. Padabhyanga is also known to be effective in improving eyesight. Oils like tila taila, ksheerabala taila and eranda taila, and cow’s ghee can be used for Padabhyanga.
Ayurveda also suggests a few ointments for an external application like Madhuchista (bee’s wax) and clarified butter. Moisturizing the feet with shatadhouta ghrita gives very good results. Application of oils like Jeevanthyadi yamaka and Nalpaaradi taila is beneficial in maintaining foot health.
Lifestyle changes also play a vital role in preventing cracked feet like avoiding hard footwear and walking bare feet. Make sure to maintain proper foot hygiene and avoid standing for long hours. A home remedy that works wonders is dipping the feet in warm water with turmeric and salt for 10-15 minutes every day. This helps in softening the skin.
Thus, we have extensively discussed cracked feet, their causes, and simple remedies that can be followed to relieve them. Cracked feet are a common problem experienced during the winter season. If cracked feet are associated with bleeding or burning, please consult your nearby Ayurvedic doctor. In the next blog, we shall further discuss common skin diseases and their treatment.