Cracked Heels and What to Do

Dry, cracked heels are a burden that several people suffer with. And as winter progresses and summer feels like a faraway dream, many people are on the look out for the perfect cracked heels remedy.

But first, it’s important to learn why cracked heels occur in the first place. Understanding this skin condition is the first step towards successful treatment and pain-free winter adventures!

Today’s blog will answer:

  • What are cracked heels?
  • What causes cracked heels?
  • What are some cracked heels remedies?

What Are Cracked Heels?

Cracked heels, sometimes called heel fissures, develop when the bottom of your heels become hard and dry, splitting open the skin. Cracked heels may also stem from having excessive, thick calluses.

As other symptoms progress, like flaking and crusting of the skin, dry cracked heels can become much more than a cosmetic issue. And while they don’t often enter serious foot condition territory, deep cracked heels may start bleeding and cause severe pain, making it extremely difficult to move freely.

Person wearing heels with cracked heels and white background

What Causes Cracked Heels?

You may assume that because you rarely go barefoot, that your heels shouldn’t crack. But a variety of outside elements and risk factors can make your heels more vulnerable.

Common Causes of Cracked Heels

  • Cold weather: The cold temperatures and dry air you experience in winter are a recipe for cracked heel development. Removing your socks from the skin on your heels can feel like velcro, and you may find “foot dandruff” residue on your black socks as well.
  • Wearing Ill-fitting footwear: The fat pad, or cushioning, under your heel will take on sufficient damage if you stand on your feet for long periods while wearing shoes with very minimal heel support.
  • Wear flip-flops in the summer: Similarly, this can set you up for a worsening condition when winter rolls around.
  • Using harsh soaps: This can strip away the skin’s natural oil barriers, which can lead to dryness and eventually, cracked heels. The winter months can exacerbate this issue since people want to take long, hot baths more often.

Cracked Heels: Risk Factors

  • Age: Skin loses natural elasticity with age.
  • Obesity: Holding extra weight can lead to excessive pressure on the heels.
  • Having diabetes or a thyroid disorderWhen diabetes damages the nerves in the feet, it can cause your feet to produce insufficient sweat, causing dryness. Hypothyroidism can cause a hormonal imbalance, leading to cracked heels.

Cracked Heels Remedies

Now that you know how this pesky condition started, it’s time to find the cracked heel remedy that works best for you! Your best bet will be utilizing a combination of the following treatments:

Girl smears moisturizing cream dry feet covered with cracks


Without moisturizing your feet, you won’t be able to fully solved your cracked heels issue.

Use products (oil-based balms and foot creams) with skin softening agents (urea is one of the most common), as these can boost the skin’s natural moisture production and rid your feet of dead skin. For the best results, moisturize your feet twice a day, after showering or bathing.

Check out this blog for more details on the best products for moisturizing your heels!

Person using foot file to buff dry skin

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes a little goes a long way, and the perfect cracked heels remedy includes making changes.

Try a complete footwear overhaul, which includes ditching shoes with little to no heel support and investing in supportive footwear. You can also try over-the-counter insoles that provide extra heel support.

You should also exfoliate your feet and buff them with a foot file. However, make sure you do this as part of a routine and not just to rid yourself of current cracked heels.

And lastly, switch from harsh, scented soaps to gentle, relatively scent-free products and assess what products you may be allergic.

See Your Chiropodist

Your trusted foot specialist can not only remove calluses on the feet, but they have extensive knowledge on foot care products and which ones would be best for you. Your chiropodist can also work to offload pressure on your heels, allowing the cracked to heal and close.

Don't Ignore Your Cracked Heels! Call Us Today!

It’s clear that at-home treatment can go a long way and help you prevent skin conditions from arising. However, if you have a severe case of cracked heels, you may need to consult with a chiropodist before treating the condition yourself.

Call us at 416-769-FEET (3338) or use our online booking form to book your appointment today!

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.