Causes of cracked heels

Sep 14, 2017

Obvious culprits for cracked feet are dry skin and increased pressure on your feet


Dry Skin 

Dry skin is a common reason why skin splits and cracked. In fact, you might have noticed that the skin around the edge of your heels tends to become dry and thick before you develop cracks in your heels. Dry skin can also make your skin feel tight, rough, and itchy. It occurs as a result of your skin losing too much oil and water. Dry cold winter air, the use of air conditioners or furnaces, having long baths in hot water, harsh soaps, and aging can all contribute to dry skin. So can skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema as well as systemic conditions like hyperthyroidism or diabetes. 

Excessive Pressure On Your Feet 

Though dryness may be one of the first signs that your feet are in trouble, putting extra pressure on them can take them a step closer to cracking. Extra pressure on the pad of fat under your heels makes it expand toward the sides, resulting in cracking and splitting of the hard, dry skin there. Some factors that can increase pressure on your feet include standing for long periods, being overweight, and shoes which are open at the back and don't protect the pad of fat under your feet. 

Athlete's Foot 

Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that affects your feet. This fungus flourishes in moist, warm areas and your feet make a perfect home for them. It is very contagious and you can get it through direct contact with infected skin or indirect contact with things like socks, shoes, and shower floors that may be contaminated. 

Athlete's foot can cause symptoms like peeling, flaking, and cracked skin at the side of your foot or between your toes. You may also experience a stinging or burning sensation, blisters, reddened skin and itching if you get this infection. Encasing your feet in closed shoes can up your risk of getting it, especially if you wear shoes made of plastic which doesn't let your feet breathe. Other risk factors include excessive sweating, minor breaks in your skin or nails through which the fungus can enter, and leaving your feet wet. 


Psoriasis is a skin disorder characterized by crusty, flaky, reddish patches of skin with scales that appear silvery. Sometimes, these may be sore or itchy too. Psoriasis can develop anywhere on your body, including your knees, elbows, lower back, or scalp. Although it's not clear what exactly causes this condition, a flawed immune system which mistakenly attacks skin cells that are healthy is thought to be the offender. Certain factors like throat infections, skin injuries, and some medications can trigger symptoms of this disorder. People with psoriasis produce excessive amounts of skin cells. This leads to an accumulation of skin cells and the development of the patches characteristic of this condition. 


The term eczema is used to describe skin swelling of various kinds.6 Atopic eczema, is the most prevalent kind and it leads to dry, red, itchy, cracked skin. It can develop in any part of your body including your legs, hands, the backs of your knees, the inside of your elbows, the scalp, or the face. This condition is more commonly found in children. We don't know exactly what causes it but it often occurs in people who have allergies or conditions like hay fever and asthma. It may also run in families. Factors like stress, soaps, food allergies, and even the weather can act as triggers for the symptoms of atopic eczema.

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