racked heels or heel fissures are seen when there is hardness, flakiness or dryness of epidermis on the outermost edge of our heel. At times, it could be just a cosmetic issue but sometimes it could also lead to bleeding and painful fissures. If left untreated the cracks can become deeper or may get infected especially if the concerned person is suffering from immunity issues or diabetes.
Causes of cracked heels
1. Obesity or excess weight
Obesity or excess weight gain like during pregnancy can result in excess pressure being exerted on our heels leading to calluses. Our heels expand more due to the extra weight and this results in cracking of heels.
2. Change in epidermal elasticity
lack of proper care increases the chances of the skin around our heel to become dryer which is anyways susceptible to dryness. Resultantly there is loss of epidermal elasticity leading to cracked heels. Climatic conditions like cold winter or very dry summers often result in dry and flaky skin.
3. Extended period of standing
If you stand for prolonged time period at home, work etc. it can be detrimental for your feet in general and heels in particular. Floors that are hard can also be harmful for your heels. You can try orthopedic footwear to protect your feet.
4. Faulty footwear
Certain types of footwear like back open, thongs, high heels, sling type sandals often tend to cause dryness of the heels. Roaming around without any footwear can also cause heel dryness and cracks.
5. General health condition
Diseases like diabetes is linked to increasing epidermal dryness and thyroid issues can result in cracking of heels.
6. Genetic factors
Genetic predisposition can also make you more prone to cracked heels as it affects your skin type.
Symptoms of cracked heel
1. Discomfort or pain in feet
When you walk, stand or run there may be some discomfort or pain in your heels. Usually the pain goes off as and when your feet no longer has to take the body weight .
2. Heels and the area around it has dry skin
There could be brown or yellow discoloration or dry, flaky skin on your heels. The skin of the region becomes sharp and rough.
3. Callus formation
Your heels’ inside border may develop callus i.e. thickened dry skin.
If left untreated your cracked heels may start bleeding. So, you need to recognize the symptoms early and take measures accordingly. In case you are diabetic or have thyroid issues, early intervention is must.
5. Daily inspection
You need to examine your feet daily to know about any skin changes.
Remedy of cracked heels
1. Hot water soak and foot filing
Soak your foot in hot water for at least ten minutes to soften the dead skin and then use a pumice stone or foot file to scrape off the dry skin. Apply moisturizer following this .
2. Daily moisturization
You need to apply a moisturizer or a heel balm regularly once in the morning and again before bed time. Preferably your moisturizer should be oil based. This would help increase the elasticity of your skin and prevent further drying of heels. A balm or cream in the morning is must to inhibit further worsening of dry heel conditions. After application of a foot balm before bedtime you can wear cotton socks to keep the moisture sealed.
3. Using antiseptic ointment
If your heels are bleeding then you can put some antiseptic on it and cover it up and change the dressing two times a day. Continue till the bleeding stops. You need to wash your hands every time you are about to touch the wounds on your heels.
4. Wear good quality socks and closed shoes
Back open and open toed shoes are not good for our heels. So, you should wear socks of high quality and shoes that keep your feet protected and improve the condition of your skin. Heels that are more than three inches should be rarely worn.
4. Use heel cups
These can help weight distribution on our heels and thereby can reduce the chances of sideways expansion of our feet pad. When used daily it can serve as an effective measure to prevent and cure cracked heels.
5. Weight reduction
If you are overweight you can try and reduce as this would take away the extra pressure on your feet and could be beneficial for the skin of your heels.
6. Consulting a podiatrist
If the conditions of your heels do not improve then you need to visit a podiatrist for more personalized remedy.
Home remedies for soothing your cracked heels
- Home remedies for soothing your cracked heels
- Hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening
- Banana foot mask
- Lemon juice and Vaseline
- Mustard oil and paraffin wax
- Combination of natural oils
- Rice flour, honey and apple cider vinegar foot scrub
- Milk and water foot bath
- Beeswax and sesame or coconut oil combination
- Camphor, castor oil and sesame oil foot massage mix
- Do it yourself ayurvedic pack for cracked heels
- Sugar scrub
- Peppermint foot scrub
- Listerine foot soak
- Essential oil foot soak
- Heel and foot exfoliating mix
- Overnight foot moisturizer
- Raw honey and oil mix
- Epsom salt and apple cider vinegar foot soak
1. Hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening
Wash your feet well and apply a thick layer of the oil or shortening on your dry and cracked heels. Now put on a pair of socks and let it be overnight. Repeat daily for few days. (3)
2. Banana foot mask
Take the pulp of one ripe banana and apply it on your heels. Let it be as it is for ten minutes and then wash it off. You can even blend half an avocado or coconut flesh along with the banana to get a creamy, thick foot mask. The vitamins and essential oils present in these fruits make your heels soft and supple.
3. Lemon juice and Vaseline
Dip your feet in warm soap water for at least fifteen minutes and then pat it dry. You need to combine a teaspoon of Vaseline with juice of a lemon and massage it well on the cracks or dry skin on your heels and entire feet. Preferably do it at bed time and then wear woolen socks which would trap your body heat and fasten healing. Exfoliating before and after the procedure can also be done. 
4. Mustard oil and paraffin wax
Melt the wax and combine with mustard oil and apply on your cracked heels. Wash it off in the morning. Repeat for at least ten days or till your cracks disappear.
5. Combination of natural oils
you can combine few drops of lemon oil, lavender oil with a spoonful of olive oil. Pour it in a bottle and add water in equal amounts and shake well to form a solution. This thick and milky solution can be topically applied on your heel cracks whenever you want. 
6. Rice flour, honey and apple cider vinegar foot scrub
The rice flour should be coarse to which you need to add few spoons of raw honey and sufficient enough apple cider vinegar to make a paste. In case of deeper cracks, a spoon of sweet almond oil or olive oil can be added. After soaking your feet in warm water for twenty minutes massage the paste on them. Vinegar dissolves the calluses and rice flour helps remove the dead skin. Olive oil and honey hydrates the skin and inhibits further cracking. 
7. Milk and water foot bath
In a big plastic basin or foot bath combine 1/2 gallon of cold milk and 1/2 gallon of hot water and soak your feet in it for fifteen minutes. Lactic acid present in milk acts as a skin softener and exfoliator. After you wash and pat dry your feet, apply cocoa butter or shea butter. Now wrap your feet in a cellophane and put on your socks. Remove the socks and cellophane after forty-five minutes and massage the butter well. Again, wear your socks and keep it overnight. 
8. Beeswax and sesame or coconut oil combination
Combine 100 ml of coconut oil, sesame oil or any edible oil and leave it to get warm. When it is nicely warm, add twenty grams of beeswax. Once it cools down, apply it on the cracks of your well washed foot. 
9. Camphor, castor oil and sesame oil foot massage mix
Mix 50 ml of both the oils and warm it. Add 5gm of camphor to it and on cooling apply it on your cracks. Do it every day. 
10. Do it yourself ayurvedic pack for cracked heels
First you need to combine 90 ml of sesame oil with 30 ml of neem oil and add a teaspoon each of neem and turmeric powder. To this add sandalwood powder and three to four pieces of boiled aloe vera. Combine well and apply the paste daily. 
11. Sugar scrub
You need to combine one third cup of brown sugar with two-third cup of granulated white sugar and half a cup of olive oil. Add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to it and store it in a glass jar and use it to get rid of dry and hard skin on your heels. 
12. Peppermint foot scrub
To prepare this you need to combine ten to fifteen drops of peppermint essential oil with a quarter cup of almond or olive oil and one cup of Epsom salt. 
13. Listerine foot soak
In four cups of warm water add one cup each of Listerine and white vinegar. Transfer it to a tub or a large basin and soak your feet in it for maximum half an hour. Now remove the calluses using a pumice stone. It also leaves a pleasant smell on your feet. 
14. Essential oil foot soak
In a basin take sufficient warm water i.e. until your ankles and add three drops each of lemon essential oil, lavender essential oil and rosemary essential oil. Dip your feet in it for at least fifteen minutes daily till the cracks disappear. 
15. Heel and foot exfoliating mix
For this you require a cup each of dry oatmeal and cornmeal; a teaspoon of peppermint essential oil and a quarter cup of salt that is coarse. Combine all the ingredients and with your fingertips massage it on your heels and soles. The skin exfoliates and smoothens up. Wash it off and after drying your feet you can run a pumice stone to further tackle any roughness. 
16. Overnight foot moisturizer
Combine three drops of lavender essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil and apply. 
17. Raw honey and oil mix
Combine half a cup of raw honey with a tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of avocado oil. Massage it on your feet before going to bed and wear a pair of socks. Wash off in the morning and apply a thick moisturizer. Repeat daily till your cracks are gone. 
18. Epsom salt and apple cider vinegar foot soak
In a basin having warm water add one cup each of dead sea salt and Epsom salt, half a cup each of apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay and few drops of your favorite essential oils. Soak your feet in it for half an hour and scrub off the dead skin using a pumice stone. Lastly apply a thick moisturizer. 
Tips for foot care
1. Daily washing
You need to wash your feet everyday taking care to clean the space between your toes and underneath your nails. Massage it on your heels till it gets absorbed at bedtime. Wear a cotton socks and let it be as is overnight. Repeat daily. 
2. Proper drying
After your bath, you need to dry up your feet totally as odor and microorganisms breed in damp feet.
Take a thick lotion and massage it well on your foot at least twice day. This can help keep heel cracks at bay.
4. Manage perspiration
Addition of foot powder to your shoes daily can help soak up sweat. Change your socks daily.
5. Daily inspection of feet
This is needed for early detection and treatment of corns, calluses, blisters and other problems of foot.
6. Changing shoes
If you alternate your pair of shoes it keeps your feet healthier as they get ample time to dry up and the padding also gets back to its normal size.
7. Foot massage
Once a week massage your feet using a warm oil to which you can add few drops of any essential oil like peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus etc.
8. Dietary recommendation
Your diet should be rich in sources of omega 3 fatty acids like walnuts, flaxseeds and oil, fresh fish etc.; omega 6 oils from plant sources like evening primrose, almonds and avocados; and olive oil that is rich in omega 9. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily.