Cracked Heels and Fissures

Cracked heels are a common foot problem that is sometimes referred to as heel fissures. Cracked heels are commonly caused by dry skin, and are made more complicated if the skin around the heel is thickened (callus).

For most people this is a nuisance and a cosmetic problem. However, when the fissures or cracks in the heel are deep, they can be very painful and in severe cases may become infected.

What causes cracked heels?

Some people tend to have naturally dry skin that can predispose them to cracks in their heels. The thickened dry skin (callus) around our heels is often prone to cracking due to increased pressure. This increased pressure can be caused by:

  • The way we walk
  • Standing up for a long time, especially on hard floors
  • Being obese, as this increases the pressure on the fat pad under your heel.
  • Wearing open back shoes
  • Some skin conditions (e.g. psoriasis and eczema)
How should I treat my cracked heels?
  • Use a pumice stone to reduce the thickness of hard skin
  • Never try to reduce the thickness yourself with a razor blade or scissors! There is a risk here of taking too much skin and introducing infection.
  • Apply moisturising creams twice daily
How can a foot health practitioner help manage my cracked heels?

I work with patients to investigate the cause of the problem, so that we can address this at source.

I remove the hard, thick skin by debriding it (often the splits in the skin will not heal if the skin is not first removed). You may need to come back for me to do this on a regular maintenance basis to help prevent the problem escalating.

If your heel is very painful I may use strapping to hold the cracks together whilst they are healing. In such a case I recommend a regular maintenance programme to prevent this situation from recurring.

I’ll also give you advice on the most appropriate moisturiser and footwear for your feet.

Sometimes I make a referral to a podiatrist for advice on insoles. Specialist insoles can help to alter the way you walk, helping to prevent the thick callus from building up on your heels again.


Call or email me to discuss your foot health concerns or to make an appointment.

Tel. 01253 891326 or 07939151744


If I don’t answer the phone I may be with a client so please leave a message and I’ll come back to you.