Cracked heels (Padadari)
परिक्रमणशीलस्य वायुरत्यर्थरूक्षयोः |
पादयोः कुरुते दारी सरुजां तलसंश्रितः || (सु.नि. १३/२९)
Cracked heels generally occur as a result of dry skin on the feet. This is often accompanied by hyperkeratosis (thickened skin) and callus formation around the edges of the heel, which is yellow or dark brown in colour. When weight is applied to the fat pad in the heel, it expands sideways and creates fissures in the skin, which has become less elastic and more prone to cracking due to decreased moisture. Initially, small fissures can appear over the surface of the heel or callus and these may become larger and deeper resulting in pain and bleeding. Pain is typically worse on weight bearing and alleviated by rest. People with larger, deeper heel fissures have an increased risk of infection which may progress to cellulitis and ulceration, especially in those with additional risk factors such as diabetes
Cracked heels condition is called” Padadari’ in Ayurveda. Paada means feet / heels. Dari, Darana means cracking. It is grouped under minor health complaints (Kshudra Rogas). Most of the time it is a harmless complaint, but causes disturbance to daily routines.
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Symptomsof Cracked heels
- Cracking / fissures
- Red and flaky patches
- Itching of the skin
- Painful condition of sole and palm
- Often associated with bleeding and burning sensation
Ayurvedic reference of Cracked heels-Padadari
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Diet Management in Cracked heels
Do’s (Pathya) inCracked heels
- Milk, tender coconut and its pulp, fruits and vegetables, sufficient amount of water will bring significant benefit in foot crack.
- Clean your feet and gently pat them dry. Smear enough moisturiser and foot-balm to maintain softness of the skin and moisture. Petroleum jelly, coconut oil, olive oil and glycerine are useful to prevent heel cracks
- Apply moisturiser and put on cotton socks before going to sleep.
- Seeking a doctor’s help during bleeding or infection in the feet is the best.
Don’ts (Apathya) inCracked heels
- Spicy and salty food will worsen the condition.
- Coffee and Cigarette smoking have direct effect over foot crack and hence they should be avoided from day one of its treatment.
- Scalding hot water dries the skin more. Use lukewarm water for bathing or cleaning feet.
- Take maximum 5-10 minutes for shower. It is unwise to dip the feet into water for longer period.
- Using harsh soaps and too much rubbing will increase dryness.
- Don’t walk around barefoot or with open-back sandals in the wintry atmosphere.
- Don’t try to exfoliate the skin with rough materials. It may cut the skin. Diabetic patients should take the help of the specialists to exfoliate the dead skin of the feet
Yoga Therapy in Cracked heels
Ayurvedic Treatment for Cracked heels
Cracked heel being a minor Vata disorder, is managed effectively and easily by Vata pacifying measures such as oleation(snehana)-medicated oil application, sudation (Swedana) – mild sweating, external application (liana)- application of herbal creams, moisturizers (clean) etc.
External medication for Cracked heels
- Madhuchishtadi lepa
- Sarjarasa malahara
- Gairikadi lepa
- Pinda taila
- Gandhakadya malahara
- Dhatturabeeja taila
- Manjishtadi ghrita
- Shatadhouta ghrita Padadari malahara
- Gandhakadya malahara
- Sarjarasa malahara
- Panchaguna taila
- Jeevantyadi malahara
- Jasadamrita malahara
- Jatyadi taila
- Jatyadi ghrita
- Sinduradya malahara
- Rasottamadi lepa
Internal medications for Cracked heels
- Ksheerabala 101 avartita taila
- Dhanwantara taila
- Chandanadi choorna
Single drugs used inCracked heels
- Vibhitaka (Terminalia bellerica)
- Surasa (Ocimum sanctum)
- Shirisha (Albizia lebbek)
- Haridra (Curcuma longa)
- Katuki (Picrorhiza Kurroa)
- Nimba (Aristolochia indica)
- Guloochi (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Susrutha Nidan Sthana, Ksudraroga Nidana Chapter 13, Sloka 29.
- Yadunandana U, editor. Madhava Nidana of Madhavakar Vol. 2. Ch.55, verse 25. Reprint Edition. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Prakashan; 2009. p.239.
- Shastri BS, Editor. Yogratnakara of Laxmipati Shastri Kshudraroga Chikitsa. Chapter 32, verse 12. Reprint Edition. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Prakashan; 2013. p.278.
- Datta SR, Editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Kalpasthana. Chapter 10, verse 9. Reprint Edition. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Bharati Academy; 2009. p. 933.
- Sahil Gupta, Ayurvedic Aspects of Allergies and Fungal Infections, Edition 2021, Cracked Heels Chapter No. 37, Page No. 223-227.
Article Written By: Dr. Sahil Gupta (B.A.M.S., M.H.A.)