In the world of podiatry we see hundreds of people complaining or suffering from dry, cracked skin in the heels of the feet. Dry skin on the foot especially around the heels can become fissured or cracked, making every step very painful. Many of these dry feet can be treated with simple care and home remedies

The causes of dry feet can be broken down into intrinsic (inside the body) and extrinsic factors (outside the body). Some of these factors are shown in the table below

Intrinsic Factors Extrinsic Factors
Ageing Over washing with hard soaps
Overall health Overuse of sanitizers
Genetics Cold temperatures
Family history Low humidity
Medical conditions Dusty surfaces
Certain Medications


The simplest way to alleviate dry skin in the heels is to first address any underlying medical problem such as diabetes. Once these conditions are under control you can take these simple steps to further reduce the appearance of painful cracked heels.


  1. Avoid using harsh soaps when bathing the foot. Choose those suitable for sensitive skin.
  2. Apply moisturising cream at least twice a-day.
  3. Ensure adequate intake of water is maintained, the warmer the environment the more water should be consumed.
  4. Calm down on A/C use or purchase a humidifier!
  5. Use protective footwear or hosiery indoors and outdoors.

It is tempting to self-treat by peeling the skin with your fingers or scrapping them off with a razor blade. However, these self-treatments may cause cuts in the skin which may lead to problematic infections.

If you have dry, fissured skin in your heels, you may want to consider seeing a Podiatrist who will debride the dry fissured skin carefully and then sand it down to restore the skin in your heels to its original baby-smooth form. Where necessary, your podiatrist will also recommend steps to take to prevent the dry, cracked skin from recurring, such as use of the appropriate cream and footwear. You can say good bye to painful dry, cracked heels!

Tim Maiden,
The Foot Practice

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