Cracked heels are also known as heel fissures, simply meaning a split in the skin around the heel. The skin can split for a few different reasons. The skin could be too hard & dry or it could be too soft & wet making it split more easily. Skin fissures can also affect other parts of the foot, not just the heels, such as the skin around the toes. Some conditions can also make the skin more likely to split, such as athlete’s foot.
This information relates only to heel fissures caused by hard or dry skin.
What are cracked heels?
Cracked heels, or heel fissures, are splits in the skin around the heel. The skin splits when it is not flexible enough to cope with the pressure it is put under during walking and standing.
The skin gets its flexibility from water in the skin so it can become inflexible when it is thick & hard or when it is dry. When pressure is put onto the heel from the bodyweight it would usually need to stretch and spread out a little to cope with the weight. If the heel cannot stretch because the skin is inflexible it will split.