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Cracked Heels

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Cracked heels occur when dead skin (called callus) builds up, causing dry, thick, scaly skin.  The skin loses it’s “stretch” because it has dried out, which causes the callus to split or crack under tension.

For most people this is a nuisance and a cosmetic problem, but when the cracks (known as fissures) are deep, the skin bleeds easily and it can be very painful. The heels appear yellow or dark brown depending on the skin type and are normally accompanied by general dry skin elsewhere on the feet. Symptoms include a hard growth of skin, usually on the outer edge of the heel. Patients may experience pain while walking and increased discomfort in thin soles or open back shoes.


  • Inactive sweat glands
  • Dry skin
  • Prolonged standing
  • Open backed shoes can be a contributing factor
  • Mal-alignment of the metatarsal bones (the bone structure of the sole of the foot)
  • Flat feet and high arched feet
  • Abnormalities of gait (walking)
  • Medical Conditions such as Eczema and psoriasis can also be contributing factors


  • Regularly apply a moisturising cream, preferably one that contains Urea and/or Lactic Acid, eg. Dermadrate Cracked Heel Treatment.
  • Use a pumice stone or foot file eg. Manicare Pedicure File to reduce the thickness of the hard skin.
  • Avoid open backed shoes or thin soled shoes
  • Buy shoes with a good shock absorbing sole
  • Never try to pare down the hard skin your self with a razor blade or a pair of scissors.
  • See a Podiatrist for regular care. Regular treatment can keep the skin on the heels more supple and reduce the incidence of cracking/fissuring.