How to Treat Cracked Heels

How to Heal Your Feet

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Cracked heels are very common. They can be painful, unattractive and very embarrassing, especially for those of us who love rocking a pair of sandals.

Usually, cracked skin on the heels and feet is caused by excessively dry skin. Cracked heels can appear during any time of year. For many people it worsens in the winter months, or for those who live in dry climates, but going barefoot and wearing shoes with open backs in warmer months can exacerbate the problem, meaning that even in the summer, when it's time to show off our feet in sandals, our feet can be in pretty rough shape.

Unfortunately, as the condition worsens it becomes more difficult to treat, since regular lotions can't penetrate the thick, dry, dead skin on our heels.

How I Healed My Heels

Luckily, I found a simple, affordable, at-home treatment that successfully got rid of the cracked, dry skin on my feet.

Before trying out this DIY home remedy, it's important to note that skin problems on our feet can be a sign of health issues. People with diabetes or skin or circulation problems will want to discuss any foot care regimen with their doctor beforehand. If the cracks on your heels are very deep or bleeding, you'll also want to speak with your doctor.

If you don't have any health issues, your cracked heels are probably just a result of worn and weathered skin. You should be able to smooth the skin on your heels without resorting to drastic measures.

Here is the routine I recently used to combat a very bad case of dry, cracked skin on my heels:


  • Flexitol Heel BalmThis product is recommended for adults only, and according to the packaging, it's safe for diabetic feet. Flexitol Heel Balm is available at most drugstores. I purchased mine at Target.
  • Dr. Scholl's Callus Reducer: Products like the Dr. Scholl's Callus Reducer are definitely not recommended for people with diabetes or circulation problems. Unfortunately, Dr. Scholl's doesn't make the Callus Reducer anymore, but the Sof'Feet Callus Reducer is an equally effective, comparable item. It's shaped like a nail file with a metal head that resembles a cheese grater. It's a strange comparison, but this little tool is pretty effective.
  • If you don't like the idea of using a manual tool to buff away callused skin, there are plenty of fast and effective tools to smooth your feet. Try the Dr. Scholl's DreamWalk Express Pedi Foot Smoother. The battery powered foot smoother has a micro-grain roller surface that gently, yet effectively, removes tough, callused skin.

How to Eliminate Cracked Heels

Dr. Scholl's recommends soaking your feet before using the Callus Reducer, though I must admit that I only sometimes soaked first. Other times I used it on dry skin or straight out of the shower.

I filed the skin on my heels moving the file in one direction only, as instructed on the package. I filed for as long as I wanted to or until my heels felt smooth to the touch. The cracks were still visible, but I couldn't feel the rough skin just by touching my heels.

After filing I applied the Flexitol Heel Balm. This stuff doesn't smell great, but it isn't terribly offensive either. It is, however, very greasy. I quickly learned to put socks on immediately after applying it before I stood up to walk across the bathroom floor.

The Flexitol package recommends using the balm twice a day. I only applied it once a day after using the callus reducer first and I still got great results.

Final Thoughts

When I first began this foot care regimen my heels were in such bad shape that I thought I'd have to skip sandal season. I wrongfully assumed that getting rid of my thick, cracked skin would take a long time. I happily noticed results after the first "treatment," and within a few days my feet were nearly back to normal.

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