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How do I Treat Rough Heels?

By S. Reynolds
Updated May 21, 2024
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The best way one should treat rough heels is to always keep them moisturized and exfoliated. Dry heels can lead to cracks in the skin, which can, in turn, cause calluses, pain, and infection. Rough, cracked heels may also look unsightly and feel uncomfortable. Keeping one's heels smooth and supple takes time and maintenance, especially if one usually walks around barefoot outdoors.

Rough heels may occur when thick, dry skin chafes against floors, the ground, or the insides of shoes. Walking without shoes in dirt and gravel will speed up the process of chafing. In order to treat rough heels, one must soak his or her feet every night in a basin of hot water. One might also add a cup of Epsom salt to the water and stir it around until it dissolves. This salt will soften the water and encourage exfoliation within minutes.

One should let his or her feet soak for at least ten minutes, if not longer. After this, a pumice stone rubbed against the heels for several minutes will gradually remove the dead skin cells. Pumice stones are natural rocks that are porous and thus have an abrasive quality. One must be careful not to rub too hard, however, or he or she might accidentally cause small cuts.

Once the dead skin is removed, one should dry off the feet and then apply a small amount of petroleum jelly or specially designed foot lotion, focusing on the heels. The lotion will lock in moisture and prevent skin from drying out and becoming rough. Wearing a pair of old socks to bed can help prevent the moisturizer from staining the sheets. The socks also help lock in the moisture.

Rough heel treatment is not a one-step process. If a person has extremely rough, cracked feet, then he or she should soak and exfoliate his or her feet for several days in a row, until the heels no longer feel rough. Another good way to treat rough heels is to always wear thick cotton socks and never go barefoot. Socks protect skin against the elements and keep in moisture. They also prevent abrasions.

Someone who enjoys walking around barefoot may have to repeat the exfoliation procedure on a regular basis. Always moisturizing the heels and wearing socks to bed can help treat rough heels by repairing skin damage overnight. Soft heels generally make any pair of feet look and feel their best.

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Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Sep 15, 2014

I wish I had the money to get a pedicure about twice a month. That's the best way to get rid of rough heels. They get that thing that looks like a cheese grater and they go to town on my gnarly heels.

I'm diabetic so I have to take care of my feet, and the graters aren't the best idea for them, so it's a good thing I don't have a pedicure very often. My feet sure do look great after I have one, though. Maybe I'll treat myself to one for my birthday. That would be a cool thing to do. I'll go to the beauty school to get one. They're about half the price of the ones in the salons.

By Pippinwhite — On Sep 14, 2014

I use a pumice stone on my dry heels. It sounds harsh, but if I soak my feet first, the skin is too soft to do anything. I'd rather pumice my dry heels really well, which sloughs off a lot of that dry skin.

*Then* I soak my feet and rub lotion into them until my feet feel soft and put socks on overnight. In general, when I get up in the morning, my heels have changed 100 percent for the better.

I have to say, though, that the best way to treat rough heels is to prevent them from getting rough to start with. Soaking them at night, lotion and socks overnight is a great way to keep your heels in good shape.

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