What causes painful dry cracked heels?

I have had cracked heels ever since I can remember.  I have spent years searching for remedies to cure and fix them.  One of the first things I figured out is that you have to know what is causing them before you try to fix them.  In this blog post, I will share with you some of the causes of cracked heels.  I also will share some tips to fix cracked heels too. Please remember to check with your doctor before attempting to fix your cracked heels.

This site contains affiliate links to products. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
* Health disclaimer, See below.

Heel fissures and what causes them


Are you concerned about the deteriorating state of your heels? Are you curious about what causes cracked heels? Are your cracked heels or heel fissures hereditary?




The skin around the heels is sensitive, and even the slightest neglect can lead to damage to the skin. Some people think that cracked heels show a lack of personal care, but this is not always true. 

What are the main causes of painful dry cracked heels? Which medical conditions causes cracked heels?Read this to find the most common reasons your heels crack.

Cracked heels are also referred to as heel 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 the heel becomes hard, flaky, or dry.



Dry skin is the most natural cause of cracked heels. When the skin around the 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. 

Pictures of cracked heels and heel

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. This can be very painful.

Heel fissures

There is a common misconception among people that cracked heels  (heel fissures) 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 can cause cracked heels

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.

What are the main causes of dry painful deep cracked heels? Which medical conditions causes cracked heels?Read this to find the most common reasons your heels crack.

•Sweating can lead to painful cracked heels

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

Are heel fissures the same as deep painful cracked heels?

•Standing on hard surfaces can help cause heel problems

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.

The Not-Flat Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat with Calculated Terrain

•Calluses and corns can lead to the development of cracked heels

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 painful deep cracking.

What are the main causes of cracked heels? Which medical conditions causes cracked heels?Read this to find the most common reasons your heels crack.

•Diseases linked to cracked heels aka heel fissures 

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



•Dehydration is a factor in cracked heels

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 correctly.


EPodiatry.com reports that this “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 deficiency and cracked heels

•Vitamin and mineral deficiency can cause cracked heels

One way to fight cracked heels is to look at your diet and see if you may have a deficiency in vitamins or minerals.  Vitamin Deficiency and Cracked heels(click to read the post) is a fantastic article on all the minerals and vitamins you may be lacking that cause cracked heels.




•Not moisturizing your feet with a quality cream

Don’t cheap out on foot care lotions.  They won’t penetrate the think heel skin.  Take a look at our post Our most recommended products (Click to read the post)post for recommendations!


•Genetics  can cause cracked heels

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




•Shoes that don’t fit properly

When your shoes always rub or are too loose, you are at risk of cracked heels! Read more about 5 ways to fix pain in your feet to get a better idea of this.

Bad cracked heels

•Ageing skin can lead to cracked heels

As you get older, your skin starts to lose elasticity and can begin to flake and become very dry.




•Medications + cracked heels.

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 of medications that you may be taking.Fix cracked heels today


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.


Product recommendations for cracked heels and heel fissures:

A really great way to get rid of cracked heels is to do regular DIY pedicures.  These are some of the best “kits” that are recommended:


*The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Our Top Blog Posts to Fix Cracked Heels

The 8 best selling foot creams on Amazon

Learn how to soften feet fast

What is urea and why does it work amazing on cracked skin?

Flexitol-The best heel balm for cracked heels








How to fix cracked heels naturally.→