It is our feet that bear most of our body weight. Yet they get the least attention. Feet that are well protected promise you a long and healthy life as the nerve endings, which make a U-turn at the feet are responsible for your energy balance. In chronic diabetics these nerve endings get inflamed and become so soft that the affected person is unable to keep his leg on the floor, leave alone stand on it.
Cracked feet is a common trait and predominantly seen in Vata prakruti people. Walking barefoot on rough surfaces or excessive exposure of bare feet to the sun, wind or water causes heels and soles to crack, apart from aggravating the Pitta and Vata doshas that cause dryness and roughness of the feet.
We begin taking care of our feet only when these cracks cut deep and start bleeding. And then we try to find quick-fix solutions through soothing gels or creams.
Remedies: l Jeevanthyadi Yamakam l Madanadi Lepa: Available in Ayurvedic shops, both are ideal applications for cracked feet.
- Mix one teaspoon of sesame oil in three tablespoons of beeswax. Warm the mix a little and apply on the affected areas.
- Use warm sesame oil or ghee on cracked feet.
- Apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon of mango tree sap and 1 tablespoon of water to the broken skin.
- A daily routine of cleaning and moisturizing will help. Before going to bed, soak your feet in warm soapy water for 15 minutes. Wash and dry. Then, take one teaspoon of Vaseline. Add the juice of one lemon to it. Rub this mixture into cracked heels and other areas of the feet till it is thoroughly absorbed.
- A mixture of glycerine and rosewater too, if applied regularly, helps to soothe and cure cracked feet.
- After washing feet thoroughly, coat the cracks with hydrogenated vegetable oil. Wear thick socks and keep overnight. Repeat the treatment for a few days. It fetches rewarding results.
- Apply the pulp of ripe banana on the cracks. Rinse after 10 minutes.
- Blend glycerine and rose water and apply on cracked feet to soothe and heal the fissures.
- Combine the juice of one slice or one quarter of lemon, one-fourth cup of milk, one-fourth cup of water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of cinnamon. Pour the mixture into a basin and soak your feet in it. This alleviates dryness, softens feet and heals the cracks.
- Add chopped parsley into a basin of water and soak your feet in it. This kills bacteria, improves blood circulation and cures cracked feet.
- Boil 5 litres of water and let it cool. Add 2 or 3 drops of lavender oil and a cup of Epsom salt to the water and soak your feet in it. This softens feet and helps to get rid of the cracks.
- Blend melted paraffin and mustard oil and apply on feet.
- Scrape feet with pumice stone. This removes scales and exfoliates the feet making them soft and supple.
The above home remedies are helpful if the problem is at the initial stages. But for severe cases, it is better to consult a physician who may prescribe the following treatments.
Snehapana: This is an unction (lubrication by oil massage etc,) treatment. The affected parts are anointed with unctuous substance like beeswax and so on. Since Vata is predominant in cracks, it causes severe roughness. The cracked skin can be glued back to its normal contour with the application of unctuous (lubricants) substances which act as binders.
Svedana: Svedana is the final treatment. The feet are fomented – either by washing with warm, salted water for 20 minutes or by application of warm poultice/pastes – for smooth binding, thereby aiding the absorption of the applied medicine.
The feet are then immersed in warm, salted water for about 15 minutes and the dead skin and dirt are removed by scrubbing. Then the feet are wiped with a soft towel and the unctuous substance or the medicine is applied.
Daily regime: Daily Padabhyanga or oil massage of the feet with warm salted gingelly oil is a very good method of preventing cracked feet.
Eat food that is easily digestible, unctuous and Vata alleviating like warm rice with ghee and plenty of vegetables, fruits and nuts. Such foods help to balance Vata in the body.
We should take care of our feet as much as we take care of our head and eyes. Feet bear the weight of our body. They tread on dirt to keep the rest of the body hygienic. The age-old Indian practice of washing your feet before entering the house makes a lot of sense. Take good care of your feet – from heel to sole to the tip of your toes.