How to crack down on your cracked heels

How to crack down on your cracked heels

Cracked heels
We tend to neglect our feet during the autumn and winter months. After all, who cares as long as they’re toasty and dry in our boots? Well, probably your summertime self when they witness a pair of dry, cracked heels!
Don’t let your cracked heels be the thing stopping you from slipping into those summer sandals. It’s time to take the right steps to preventing and treating your cracked heels for good. 
So, what are you waiting for? Start by taking a step in the right direction by reading our guide on how you can crack down on your cracked heels.

What causes cracked heels?

We put our feet through a lot – they are the things that carry us around all day! Therefore it isn’t surprising that they can become dry, cracked and sore, especially when we don’t take time to look after them.
Anyone can develop cracked heels, especially if you’re active or you’re standing for long periods. When we put extra pressure on the fatty pads of our heels, it can cause the hard skin to crack, otherwise known as a heel fissure. 
Of course, cracked heels can be caused by other things, such as:

  • Wearing open-heeled footwear
  • Harsh soaps
  • Cold or dry weather
  • Hot baths or showers

Sometimes, cracked heels can be caused by a medical condition, like obesity, diabetes or eczema. Those with foot-related conditions are more likely to experience cracked heels, too, as is the case with flat feet, athlete’s foot and heel spurs.


Are cracked heels dangerous?

Cracked heels aren’t dangerous, and for the majority of the time, they’re usually just an eyesore! But if your cracked heels are severe, meaning the cracks run very deep into the heel, they may bleed and cause pain. This can be an infection risk.
Thankfully, this is rare and there’s no need to let your cracked heels run away with you. Keep reading to find out how you can repair your cracked heels to get them soft, smooth and summer ready.


How to repair cracked heels

When we spot dry skin on our face, we exfoliate and moisturise – why should our feet be any different? If you’re looking to smooth over those cracks, it’s important to implement a 3 step regime of soaking, exfoliating and moisturising.


As the skin on your heels is thicker and drier than the skin on the rest of your feet, it’s helpful to soak your feet in warm water before you start exfoliating. This will soften and loosen the skin on your heels to make exfoliating a breeze.
Got a foot spa? Great! If not, soaking your feet in the bath or even pinching the washing up bowl will do the trick! We’d recommend adding a splash of your favourite bubble bath to the water to keep your feet smelling clean and fresh. 


After you’ve patted your feet dry, the next step is exfoliation. Use a manual exfoliator, an electrical exfoliator, a scrub, loofah, pumice stone or there are even some that look like a cheese grater!
Remember, even though the skin is hard on your heel, you still need to be gentle, otherwise, you risk causing damage to your skin.


The final step is to moisturise your heels. Apply a layer of your chosen cream (we’d recommend CeraVe Renewing Foot Cream or Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Foot Cream) to not only hydrate the skin to prevent those dry cracks from reforming, but a specially formulated foot cream can also help to strengthen the skin’s barrier and improve skin texture. 
Once you’ve applied the cream, put on clean cotton socks. This will lock in moisture and prevent you from falling. Creams can make your feet slippery, and we don’t want you to have an accident now that your feet are in tiptop condition!


How to prevent cracked heels

Now that you’ve conquered your cracked heels, it’s likely that you’ll want to take steps to prevent your heels from becoming cracked in the future, especially when it’s warm and your heels are frequently exposed.
Just like you’ll have a skincare regime for your face – exfoliate, wash, moisturise, perhaps – you should adopt one for your feet, too. Exfoliate and moisturise regularly to buff away the build-up of dry skin and to keep your heels supple and soft.
Although it’s tempting to stick to open-heeled shoes during summertime, too much wear can cause the heels on your feet to dry out, causing them to crack due to the lack of moisture. It’s a good idea to alternate your footwear to prevent this.
Putting your feet through too much stress, for example walking barefoot, using harsh soaps or submerging your feet in very hot water can cause dry, cracked heels. Take it easy on your feet!

Cracked heels can be unsightly, and in very severe cases, they can cause pain. Don’t worry! With the right treatment (and a bit of TLC!) your feet will be silky smooth and hydrated in no time – and all it takes is a simple and easy 3 step regime. If you need any more information about cracked heels or heel fissures, visit the NHS website.


Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 31 May 2022
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