What causes cracked heels on your feet? Everything you need to know

Cracked heels

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M.D.

The most common cause of cracked heels is lack of hydration. There are factors that these cracks favor, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, psoriasis, athlete's foot, juvenile plantar dermatosis. There can be other causes like obesity, using open-back shoes, following an unbalanced diet, and standing for a long time.

The image given by cracked or dry heels causes us discomfort and insecurity. This problem is almost always caused by dry skin and can also be a symptom of diseases such as psoriasis, diabetes, or hypothyroidism. We can identify cracked heels when the skin is thicker and very dry, in addition to the appearance of calluses around the edge of the heel.

To avoid cracked heels, you will find the causes of cracked heels in this article, how to solve it, you will learn about the diagnosis of cracked heels

Table of Contents

What are cracked heels?

Cracked heels alter the dermis caused by excessive dryness of the feet; it begins to tear or fracture perpendicularly. This dehydration and lack of elasticity in the skin cause pain that the heels crack and sometimes even bleeding.

The skin of the feet is not the same as the rest of the body because it is much thicker; it can be 50 times thicker than the skin of the face; besides, it is a skin that is poor in fat.

Symptoms of cracked feet. 

When there is a lack of moisture in the heels of the foot, it can occur in various ways, some of them are as follows: 

  • Redness.
  • Itching.
  • Flaking. 
  • Roughness and this happens when there are more extreme cases.

What causes cracked heels

What causes cracked heels?

The main symptom of cracked heels is when the sole is very dry and hard. That is a condition that affects both men and women. That can appear throughout the year. When it reaches an extreme situation, it can cause pain or bleed, and then you must go to see a doctor.

If this happens, it is advisable to visit a chiropodist who will teach you the steps to follow, so the heel recovers its hydration and elasticity. The causes for which it appears in our cracked can be:

Lack of hydration

We almost always forget to take care of our feet' skin, just as we do with our bodies.

What do cracked heels say about your health? What disease causes dry feet? Some of the most common are:


Diabetes can be a double problem for the feet. First, it is a disease that reduces blood flow to the lower trunk.

That produces a deficiency of oxygen and nutrients in the skin. Therefore, it causes that cuts or wounds are tough to heal in our feet. Diabetes also implies dryness in that area.

On the other hand, diabetes can cause numbness in the feet due to the damage that occurs in the nerves. That results in people with diabetes not being aware of their feet' wounds, which can worsen.


When this disease occurs, foot wounds become a disease because it is an autoimmune and painful condition. This body area is especially sensitive because it is in contact with the shoes and must also carry your body's weight. Therefore, if there is no cure for this disease, it can be treated with creams and medicines to relieve the symptoms.


Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid does not work correctly. That causes an incorrect renewal of the skin cells, resulting in the outer layer of the epidermis dying and staying longer without falling off, causing dryness in the feet.

Inadequate shoes

Using the wrong type of footwear, of low quality, that does not have adequate support or does not fit well contributes to hard and cracked heels. The ideal is to use a shoe with good cushioning, and that does not have a heel, to avoid that in the zone it has pressure, and it dries in excess.

Not eating a balanced diet.

Eating a balanced diet rich in all nutrients leads to moisturized and elastic skin. Overweight can also cause heels to suffer more pressure and dry out quickly.

Being barefoot

When you walk barefoot, the heel area rubs more against the surface where it rests, causing dryness.


As we age, the skin loses elasticity and reacts negatively to changes in the environment and temperatures.

Hot water and long baths

When you bathe for more than 15 minutes and use hot water, it makes the skin lose its natural moisture-producing dryness.

Chlorine and saltpeter

When we go to the beach or pool, the chlorine and saltpeter in the water cause dryness to the skin, so it is advisable to shower afterward to eliminate them.


When you smoke the nicotine, it dries out the skin, reducing blood flow and causing a lack of nutrients and oxygen in the bloodstream.

Drink a little amount of water

The best way to hydrate yourself is to consume between 1.5 and 2 liters of water daily. If you don't, your skin will dehydrate and dry out more quickly.

Excessive standing 

Standing for many hours can damage the sweat glands and result in dry feet.

How do you diagnose the appearance of cracked or dry heels?

You can have beautiful feet

The cracks that are in the heels can take several days or weeks to appear. For that reason, you must be alert when in the feet begin to occur some changes like:

Red patches

When we see the reddish tone, we usually don't pay much attention to it. But the problem from there begins to worsen because when the skin peels, it is dry and more vulnerable to infection.

Cracked skin, dryness, and flaking

When you have these symptoms, you should start by preventing this situation. To do this, you should not remove the dead skin as it can damage the one underneath, which is the new one. The chiropodist will be the one to help you release what is convenient and perform a more effective treatment.

Bleeding or discharge

Bleeding happens when there is a more severe problem. These symptoms tell us that the cracks are affecting the deeper layers of the skin.


When there are injuries in grooves around the heel, there is pain and extreme sensitivity. Besides, when there is a change in yellow or brown color in this area, it is essential to know that several complications can occur.

If you do not treat the problem immediately, the foot's deepest layer, such as the dermis, will be affected, and there may even be bleeding. If you don't treat this wound, it can become infected, and you will not be able to do simple activities, such as standing or walking.

What is the best thing for cracked heels?

How do I stop my heels from cracking? Treatment for cracked heels.

Seeing a podiatrist

If your heels' dryness causes you discomfort or bleeding, it is of utmost importance that you see a podiatrist since these cracks can cause microorganisms to enter and cause infection. This specialist will help you find the most suitable treatment in the most severe cases.

Good drying

Be very careful when drying your feet, paying attention to the skin between your toes. If you don't dry your feet well, it can cause bacteria and infections. It is advisable to gently dry this area, rubbing them without exerting force to damage the skin.

Carry out a moisturizing cure

If you have not used moisturizer in a while, look for creams, especially those containing vitamins E, shea butter, and aloe. Apply a specific cream to the area for cracked feet, and cover the foot with a plastic film all night long to make it work.

We do not recommend to use ointments composed of alcohol, perfume, or oil.

Drink water and eat a balanced diet

A balanced diet rich in all types of nutrients and consuming 2 liters of water per day is the most ideal for moisturizing the skin and giving it more elasticity.

Take vitamin A

Maintain a diet rich in vitamin A, which is present in the following foods 

  • Carrots.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Broccoli.
  • Spinach. 
  • Pumpkin or Squash.

Moisturize your feet daily

It would be best to use specific creams for the feet in their composition Urea as the main component since it is an ingredient that prevents water loss. We recommend you to perform the hydration at night.

Home remedies for cracked heels.

Before starting to apply any product, the main thing is to soak your feet with warm water, approximately 15 minutes, it can be pure water or soap, to soften the skin.

Then rub the cracked areas with a pumice stone with great care not to abuse and further damage the skin, then rinse your feet, dry them very well, and you're ready to put the product you want.

Olive Oil

If your feet feel dry and are starting to crack, massage the olive oil into your feet. That will allow you to achieve more excellent absorption and nourish the skin in depth.

Baking soda

Bicarbonate is an exfoliant that removes dead cells and has anti-inflammatory properties.

To prepare the baking soda mixture, you will need

  • Three tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Warm water.
  • Preparation:
  • Place the three tablespoons of bicarbonate in a large bowl with some warm water.
  • Mix well until you dissolve the bicarbonate. 
  • Then immerse your feet in this mixture for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Remove the feet from the water and rub them with a pumice stone, rinse them with fresh water and dry them with a dry towel. 
  • You have to do this process twice a week.

Musk Rose

The musk rose has many repairing effects. Besides that, it is of excellent absorption, so you will immediately notice your feet more hydrated and softer.


Avocado is a fruit very rich in fatty acids, and therefore, very beneficial for the skin, especially in dry skin. Avocado treatment moisturizes your feet in-depth and also stimulates collagen formation.


The banana is also a very nutritious fruit and provides elasticity to the skin. To prepare this very effective home remedy, you must:

  • Mix a ripe banana and an avocado.
  • Then apply it to your feet, and you will have an incredibly soft result.
  • Repeat this treatment every night before bed for two weeks or until you are satisfied with the results.


For the cracks or splits of the feet, the lemon is the best known natural treatment because it helps to soften the heel's skin and, at the same time, reduces dryness.


  • Apply lemon juice for 10 minutes
  • Be careful that the cracks found in your feet are not too deep, because the lemon can bake; with this treatment, you will have softer heels.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera contains vitamins C and E with antioxidant properties and lupeol, which includes the antiseptic and analgesic and auxins and gibberellins, which help heal wounds.

 How to prepare it:

  • Moisten your feet with warm water and rub them using a pumice stone to remove the dead skin.
  • Then pat dry and apply a thick layer of aloe vera to your feet.
  • Put on some cotton socks and sleep with them on.
  • The next morning, rinse with warm water. 
  • This treatment will be repeated every night for 15 days.

Sugar & Lemon Exfoliant

 To remove rough feet, exfoliate with: 

  • 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice.


  • You have to stir the ingredients well and soak the feet in this mixture for 10 minutes to make it. 
  • Then massage with circular movements, the dry skin and rinse it well. 
  • We recommend you repeat this procedure daily.

Rice flour, honey, and vinegar exfoliant

 Rice flour purifies and remineralizes the skin, while honey is a natural antiseptic that cures cracked feet. Vinegar, on the other hand, is a mild acid that softens and dries dead skin, making it easier to exfoliate. 

  • Make an exfoliant by mixing three spoonfuls of rice flour, one spoonful of honey, and two or three drops of apple vinegar, mixing well until you form a homogeneous paste. 
  • Then soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes and rub gently using the paste to remove dead cells. You have to repeat this process two or three times a week.

How to prevent dry and cracked heels

Drink plenty of water

We recommend drinking about 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily to avoid the skin's dryness and tightness due to lack of water. If you add to this, you should provide extra moisture to the heels with moisturizing creams specifically for feet.


Apply exfoliant from time to time to remove any residue left on the skin. The feet are exposed to many bacteria because they are part of the body closest to the ground.

Use footwear that covers the foot

 Covered shoes are essential to use because they avoid contact with external agents, and thus the heels will suffer less since you don't expose them to the air and never walk barefoot.

Four steps at night to have a soft foot without cracks

  • Step 1. Exfoliate your feet with an exfoliating soap or a home remedy such as honey and brown sugar mix, yogurt, and fubá.
  • Step 2. Place a generous amount of petroleum jelly-based cream on the driest areas of the feet.
  • Step 3. Wrap your feet with plastic, without making them too tight, because it would impede circulation.
  • Step 4. Finally, place some socks on your feet above the plastic to further enhance the cream's absorption.


Cracked heels can change their appearance if you follow the steps we have taught you. You must moisturize them very well, always give them a lot of love, and take care of them as you take care of your body's other parts.