Support your heels and skin with the right shoes!
The first sign of cracked heels is having areas of dry, thickened skin, known as callouses, around the rim of your heel. As you walk, the fat pad under your heel expands. This causes your callouses to crack.
Other factors that can cause cracked heels include:
- standing for long hours
- walking around barefoot, or with open-back sandals
- taking long, hot showers
- using harsh soaps that can strip your skin of natural oils
- shoes that don’t fit properly or support your heels
- dry skin due to climate, such as cold temperatures or low humidity
If you don’t moisturize your feet regularly, they may dry out even faster.
How to prevent cracked heels
Your footwear matters. If you’re prone to cracked heels, try to find shoes that fit properly and support your heels. Whenever possible, wear shoes with a sturdy, wide heel that supports and cushions your heels.
- flip-flops and sandals, which can increase the risk of your feet drying out
- open-back shoes, which generally don’t provide enough heel support
- shoes with a tall, skinny heel, which can cause your heel to expand sideways
- shoes that are too tight
Other ways to prevent cracked heels:
- Avoid standing in one position or sitting with your legs crossed for too long.
- Slather on thick foot cream at night and then cover your feet with socks to lock in moisture.
- Inspect your feet daily, especially if you have diabetes or another condition that causes dry skin.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Use a pumice stone after showering a few times a week to help prevent thickening skin. But avoid removing calluses yourself if you have diabetes or neuropathy. You may inadvertently create a wound and increase your risk of infection.