Cracked heels is a condition of thickening and fissuring of the skin on the heel of the foot. It is a common foot problem. Cracked heels are often referred to as fissures. When the fissures are deep, the skin bleeds easily and causes a lot of pain.

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptoms are:

  • hard growth of skin on the outer edge of the heel
  • yellow or dark skin on the heel
  • pain while walking
  • increased pain in thin soles or open back shoes
  • red or flaky patches on the heel of the foot
  • peeling and cracked skin
  • itchy skin


Some of the most common causes are:

  • inactive sweat glands
  • dry skin
  • prolonged standing
  • obesity
  • wearing shoes with an open back
  • surgery to the lower extremities
  • heel spurs
  • mal-alignment of the metatarsal bones
  • flat feet
  • high arched feet
  • poor diet
  • improperly fitting shoes
  • Athlete’s foot
  • psoriasis
  • thyroid disease
  • diabetes

Can Cracked Heels be Treated?

Yes. However, cracked heels are more difficult to treat when the skin around the rim of the heel is thick.

Some of the common treatments for cracked heels are:

  • application of a moisturizing cream
  • use essential oils
    • Rosemary, lemon and lavender oils mixed in a warm foot bath can provide temporary pain relief while also moisturizing the skin. warm foot bath to soak your cracked heels.
    • To moisturize your skin, massage olive, almond or vegetable oil into your skin and cover with cotton socks just before going to sleep at night
  • change in diet (drink more water, eat skin soothing foods like oatmeal and yams)
  • use a pumice stone to reduce the thickness of the hard skin
  • avoid wearing open backed shoes or thin soled shoes
  • wear shoes with a good shock absorbing sole