q How to Stop Dry Cracked Feet from Ruining Your Day - Harcourt Health

How to Stop Dry Cracked Feet from Ruining Your Day

Are all of your aches and pains in your heels? Instead of trying to stay off your feet all day (which isn’t always practical), you need a real fix. Otherwise, the cracks in your heels can lead to cellulitis or a diabetic foot ulcer.

According to this survey, 20% of adults in our country have dry, cracked feet. 

While both adults and children deal with this problem, it happens more often with women. 

Don’t suffer through the day on dry, cracked feet with cuts. Instead, read our guide for causes, symptoms, and home remedies you can try. That way, you’re prepared with the tips you need to heal your heels!

Run, don’t walk, toward these tips!

What Causes Dry, Cracked Feet

When your heels dry up, it can cause thickened skin, or calluses, to develop around the rim of your heel. Walking against these callouses will cause them to expand, then crack. 

So what causes dry, cracked feet in the first place? A few factors include:

  • Standing on your feet for long hours at a time
  • Taking long, hot showers frequently
  • Walking around barefoot
  • Wearing open-back sandals
  • Using harsh shoes that strip natural oils from your skin
  • Cold temperatures and low humidity drying your skin
  • Wearing shoes that don’t properly fit
  • Shoes that don’t support your heels
  • Neglecting to moisturize your feet

Some medical conditions can also cause your feet to dry up. For example, diabetes causes high blood sugar and poor circulation. As a result, nerve damage occurs, making it difficult for you to realize your feet are dry and cracked.

Other medical conditions that cause cracked heels include:

  • Aging
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Fungal infection
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Juvenile plantar dermatosis
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Psoriasis

If you have any of these conditions, keep an eye on your feet!

The Symptoms

Additional symptoms might also accompany your dry, cracked feet. For example, you might also notice:

  • Bleeding
  • Flaky skin
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Ulceration

When left untreated, these symptoms can develop. Keep an eye out for pain, redness, warmth, and swelling, which might indicate an infection. 

Other complications can include diabetic foot ulcer or cellulitis. If you recognize the signs of an infection, call a doctor right away. 


There are a few ways you can prevent developing dry, cracked skin. 

For starters, your footwear plays a big part in keeping your feet happy and healthy. To avoid dry, cracked feet with cuts, you should also avoid:

  • Shoes with tall, skinny heels
  • Open-backed shoes
  • Shoes that don’t provide enough heel support
  • Flip-flops and sandals
  • Shoes that are too tight

Instead, try to find shoes that fit properly. They should support and cushion your heel.

You can also prevent dry and cracked feet by:

  • Using a foot cream every night, then covering your feet with socks
  • Wearing custom shoe inserts for support
  • Using silicone heel cups for moisture
  • Drinking fluids to keep hydrated
  • Using a pumice stone in the shower
  • Inspecting your feet daily
  • Avoiding sitting or standing in one position for too long

These tips can help you prevent dry, cracked feet before the pain sets in. 

Home Remedies

About 38% of people have a heel spur, though they might not even realize it. Meanwhile, 70% of people with plantar fasciitis are suffering from heel spurs as well. Knowing the best way to relieve heel spur pain can help you get back on your feet!

There are plenty of home remedies for dry feet and cracked heels. We’ve reviewed a few below to help you get started.

Balms & Moisturizers

First, consider using a heel balm to heal your dry feet. Balms contain ingredients that are ideal for softening and moisturizing your skin. They can also exfoliate dead skin away to reveal the soft, healthy layer underneath.

When searching through balms at a drug store or online, look for:

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids
  • Saccharide isomerate
  • Salicylic acid
  • Urea

Apply the heel balm in the morning to increase your skin elasticity. You can also moisturize your heel throughout the day. The balm might cause minor irritation.

If the balm considers to bother you, consult a doctor. They can also prescribe a stronger steroid cream to reduce inflammation.

Soak & Exfoliate

Soaking and moisturizing your feet can help when the skin at your heels dries out. First, soak your feet in soapy water for about 20 minutes. Then, use a pumice stone or scrubber to remove thick skin.

After soaking, pat your feet dry and apply a balm or moisturizer.

Make sure to avoid scrubbing your feet after you’ve dried them. Otherwise, you could risk damaging your skin. 


That’s right: honey is also an effective natural remedy for dry, cracked heels. Honey is antimicrobial and antibacterial, so it can heal and cleanse wounds. At the same time, honey will also moisturize your skin. 

Use honey after soaking your feet as a foot mask overnight. 

Coconut Oil

Like honey, coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Use coconut oil after a foot soak for your dry skin. Using coconut oil will help your feet retain moisture.

Other At-Home Ingredients

You can use other household items to repair your dry feet, including:

  • Oatmeal mixed with oil
  • Paraffin wax
  • Mashed bananas
  • Shea butter
  • Olive Oil

Use these household ingredients to help moisturize your skin. You can also add a little vinegar to your soapy water the next time you try a foot soak. 

Future Treatment

If your dry, cracked feet aren’t healing, consider seeing a doctor. A foot specialist (podiatrist) can help evaluate your heels. They’ll help you discover the best treatment option, as well as the underlying cause of your dry skin.

Run, Don’t Walk, Toward Healed Heels: How to Stop Dry, Cracked Feet in Their Tracks

Soak up and start healing. With these tips, you can stop your dry, cracked feet from getting in the way of living your life. Soften your heels and ease the pain away today!

Explore the Health section of the blog for more helpful tips and tricks!