Cracked Heels - causes

Cracked Heels - causes

Are you concerned about the deteriorating state of your heels? Are you curious about whatcauses cracked heels? 

The skin around the heels is sensitive, and even the slightest neglect can lead to damage to the skin. It is commonly said that cracked heels show the lack of care and nourishment, but this is not always true. 

Cracked heels are also referred to asheel fissures. It can range from a cosmetic issue to a painful problem, depending on its severity. Heel fissures or cracked heels occur when the skin on the outer edge or bottom of heel becomes hard, flaky, or dry.

Dry skin is the most natural cause of cracked heels. When the skin around heel gets dried, or thick callous has developed around the rim, it loses its elasticity. Thus, callous does not flex along with the inner layers of skin tissue. 

Impact and friction between layers of tissue while walking trigger cracking on the outer skin. Once cracks develop on the heel, the cracks go deeper due to ground reaction forces and result in damage to the dermis layer. 

There is a common misconception among people who cracked heels are caused due to dryness. But, dry skin is not the only culprit for cracked heels, other reasons that cause cracked heels include :

•Excessive exposure to wetness 

During activities that involve remaining in water for a prolonged period of time, the strength of the skin is affected. It leads to dryness on a layer of skin and causes cracked heels.


When sweat around the heel area does not evaporate, or the person is prone to excessive sweating, the skin around heel becomes soggy. Dampness triggers the development of callus. Formation of callus results in cracking of the skin.

•Standing on hard surfaces 

When a person stands on hard surfaces, especially, barefooted, for long periods of time, mechanical forces cause heels to crack. If a person is obese or overweight, there is a higher probability of heel cracking due to excess pressure on the heels.

•Calluses and corns 

When the area around the heel becomes thick, it leads to the development of corns and calluses. If there is an increase in pressure on the heel, it leads the heel to spread sideways causing and causes cracking.


Illness or metabolic disorder that causes the skin to dry leads to cracking. This includes disorders like diabetes, Thyroid, Eczema, Psoriasis, and others.


Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly.


Obsesity increases the pressure on the normal fat pad under the heel, causing it to expand sideways — if the skin is not supple and flexible, the pressures to ‘crack’ are high.

•Vitamin and mineral deficiency

One way to fight cracked heels is to look at your diet and see if you may have a deficiency in vitamins or minerals.

•Not moisturizing your feet with a quality cream

Don’t cheap out on foot care lotions.  They won’t penetrate the think heel skin. 


Skin type is often genetic. Some heels get very thick callus but don’t crack whereas others have no callus at all. Chances are that if your parents have cracked heels you will get them too.

•Shoes that don’t fit properly

When your shoes constantly rub or too loose, you are at a risk for cracked heels!

•Ageing skin

As you get older your skin starts to lose elasticity and can start to flake.


Some medications are the causes of cracked heels or heel fissures. It can make your skin dry up and make your skin crack. Make sure to ask your pharmacist for any side effects for medications that you may be taking.

Do not neglect cracked heels because they can turn into serious medical issues later. Look for itchy, flaky or patchy heels as these are common symptoms of cracked heels.Start immediate treatment or contact a doctor, podiatrist or esthetician if the problem persists.