A woman puts heel cream on her feet

Cracked Heels: Causes & Remedies to Try

Humanity seems to be wrestling with a modern-day plague of cracked heels. But pinpointing the cause of this common foot problem and resolving it can be as tough as those callused heels of yours.

There are a number of reasons cracked heels, or heel fissures, may be tormenting you. Certain diseases and skin conditions can play a major role. So can environmental factors like standing for long periods or wearing open-heel shoes. Regardless of why your heels are cracked, you’re probably desperate for relief.

So what’s the best treatment for cracked heels? And can you permanently get rid of the scaly skin and dryness that’s become the new norm? Well, definitely maybe. As with all good mysteries, you must identify—and then outwit—the culprit. The truth is, you may be looking at an easy fix or a lengthy battle. 

Read on to learn more about what causes dry, cracked heels as well as our picks for game–changing store bought and homemade remedies to try. The sooner you find one that works, the better. Now get crackin’ on healing those cracked heels!           

What causes cracked heels?

Curious what’s causing your dry feet and cracked heels? A lone perpetrator may be to blame. Or perhaps there’s a conspiracy afoot, with several factors at play. Sadly, you may have the cracked heels gene if you noticed foot fissures at an early age. Other causes run the gamut. Some you have a degree of control over; some you don’t. Here’s a closer look.

  • Long hours walking or standing. Depending on your line of work, you may be on your feet for long stretches. That prolonged pressure may be what’s causing the skin on your heels to thicken—a condition known as hyperkeratosis—and then eventually splinter and crack.
  • Certain diseases, disorders or skin conditions. There’s also a laundry list of medical conditions that might be causing or aggravating your cracked heels. Diabetes, obesity, eczema, psoriasis and even athlete’s foot may be giving your heels that granite-like grittiness. Please note, Baby Foot products should not be used on foot cracks that are open and bleeding. Always check with your physician about any medical concerns before using any Baby Foot products.
  • Open-heeled or poorly fitting shoes. Exposing your heels to the elements, especially in the winter, will only make dry heels drier and invite calluses. Wear closed shoes that fit comfortably around the heels to keep them contained and protected.
  • Hot baths or showers. Regularly exposing the sensitive skin on your soles to hot water isn’t helping your heels. Take shorter baths or showers without cranking the temp up. Avoid harsh soaps and be sure to moisturize when you get out. Our Baby Foot Moisturizing Foot Mask will keep your feet hydrated and healthy—and it only takes 15 minutes! 

See? There’s a lengthy list of what causes cracked heels. Hopefully, you’re able to adjust some of these variables to keep them at bay. If cracked heels are a chronic problem, then you’re going to need a go-to remedy for relieving the dryness and discomfort. Here are our picks for heel creams and DIY hacks to try. 

Try a heel cream or balm 

Living with cracked heels is rough—literally and figuratively. If lifestyle changes don’t seem to be helping, it may be time to hit the pharmacy. There are a number of heel creams and balms designed to moisturize the fractured skin and help heal your feet. Here are three that receive high marks from people who suffer from painful cracked heels. 

  • Flexitol. This highly concentrated heel balm contains 25% urea and is part moisturizer and part exfoliator. Ingredients include aloe, Vitamin E, shea butter, lanolin, glycolic acid and tea tree oil—but this balm isn’t oily. Clinical studies have shown that Flexitol dramatically boosts heel skin hydration levels in just two weeks. 
  • Eucerin UreaRepair Plus 10% Foot Cream. Eucerin has long been hailed as one of the best brands for fighting dry skin. This quick-absorbing, fragrance-free foot cream takes the fight to cracks and calluses, restoring moisture to hardened heels and staving off dryness. After using this cream twice daily, nine out of 10 patients in a clinical study said the general condition of their feet improved.
  • O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet. The phrase “for extremely dry, cracked feet” appears on every jar and tube of O’Keeffe’s foot cream, which creates a barrier on your heels that keeps dryness out and locks moisture in. The company also offers a 100% money back guarantee. What more do you need to know?  

Home remedies for cracked heels 

Are you more of a creator than a consumer? If so, you’ll be glad to know home remedies abound when it comes to healing cracked skin on your heels. With the right combination of items from your pantry and medicine cabinet, sweet relief may be right around the corner. 

Brace yourself. Some of these might sound a little weird at first, but don’t discount these home remedies for cracked heels. They’re all legit—yes, even the bananas. Don’t believe us? Try out these homemade heel healers and see for yourself. 

  • Listerine and white vinegar. Your nostrils are probably flinching at the idea of these strong odors combining. Maybe so, but it’s a small price to pay for softening up sore heels and healing cracked feet. Mix 1 cup of Listerine, 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water. Soak your aching heels for 15 minutes, then remove any dead skin with a pumice stone and rinse with water. Do this daily until your heels recover.
  • Rice flour, honey and apple cider vinegar. When you stir up these ingredients, you’ll get a soothing scrub for your fossilized heels. Create a paste using three teaspoons of rice flour, 1 teaspoon of honey and a few drops of apple cider vinegar. After soaking your heels in lukewarm water for five to 10 minutes, scrub your heels with the paste and then rinse with water. Do this a few times a week for best results. 
  • Bananas. You read that right. You’re going to have to sacrifice your healthy snack for your poor heels. Mash two ripe bananas into a paste and then coat your heels. Bananas are loaded with vitamins that keep your skin moist and pliable. Wash the foot-nourishing fruit spread off after 20 minutes and reap the rewards. 

Don’t give up if these remedies lead to lackluster results. Our Baby Foot Exfoliating Foot Peel has a long track record of rejuvenating dry, callused heels. Maybe our special Baby Foot formula will succeed where other remedies fell short!