List of various factors and reasons contributing to cracked heels

Cracked heels

One of the most common foot problems are the cracked heels. There was one study in which is said that 20% of adults in the United States of America are experiencing cracked skin on their feet [1]. Cracked heels can happen in adults and children and it is affecting women more than men [2]. In the most cases, cracked heels are not a serious condition but they can cause discomfort when he or she is going barefoot. There are some cases when cracks in the heels can become very deep and they can cause pain. They can be unsightly, painful and hard to rid of them. There are many different causes for the cracked heels. The winter weather is one of the most common culprits of dry skin which cracks, tears and peels. It is very important to know the cause for your cracked heels because this is the first step which can help you to heal them. [3]

Cracked heels causes

Here are the most common causes for cracked heels:

  • Kidney problems: We know that kidneys are bean – shaped. They are responsible for the filtering waste products and other toxins from our bodies. In some cases they can become problematic for reasons including poor diet, genetics and other lifestyle choices. When someone suffers from a kidney disorder, then a buildup of waste products in the blood can cause dry skin, itching and flaking. Also the cold and windy winter weather can worsen this condition and it can cause your heels to crack. [4]

Cracked heels

Cracked heels

  • Poor hygiene: We know that the largest organ of our bodies is our skin. Skin is charged with removing toxins via the pores. You should keep your skin moisturized, dry and clean because this will help you to avoid cracked heels.
  • Lack of moisture: It is known fact that the winter weather is the number one cause for seasonal dry skin. We know that our heels are especially prone to chapped skin because heels are home to most of the sweat glands in our feet. You should protect your heels from vital moisture loss by wearing Aloe Vera – infused sock or you can massage oils into your feet before you put on your evening slippers. Jojoba oil, coconut butter and shea butter are some of the best natural skin hydrators. [5]
  • Aging: We know that as we are getting older, our bodies are slowing down the production of many different hormones which are needed to maintain skin strength and elasticity. This is a reason why older people have especially dry skin and even thicker skin on their feet when they were young. This is normal as people are getting older but this can increase the risk of developing cracked heels. [6]
  • Eczema, psoriasis, diabetes and other dry skin conditions: The mentioned skin conditions can cause the skin to dry out, flake, peel and even it can crack down deep into thin layers beneath the epidermis which is drawing blood. In some parts of your body, you can notice these symptoms right away. It is known fact that our heels are susceptible to added complications of these conditions because they get a lot of the foot traffic. [4]
  • Thyroid dysfunction: Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is the most common thyroid problem which is associated with cracked heels and dry skin. We know that the thyroid is producing important hormones which are responsible for everything from hunger to sleep and even healthy skin and hair. If you have noticed some symptoms (such as painful PMS, fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches and pains, irregularity, mood swings and unwanted weigh gain), then you should talk with your doctor to make a thyroid test. [7]
  • Unwanted weight gain: We know that in the winter we eat a little more than usual and this we are using as an excuse. But if you suffer from obesity or excessive weight gain, then this can add pressure to your heels which can cause cracking of already extra – dry feet.
  • Nutrient deficiency: During the winter months is normal to have dry skin. If you have noticed that your skin is so dry that is prone to cracking and flaking, then this could be a sign of a nutrient deficiency. When you have ultra – dry skin, then this can be caused by a lack of enough water and a deficiency in essential fatty acids, potassium, Vitamin E, Vitamin D or Vitamin A. [8]


[1] Institute for Preventive Foot Health. Cracked heels. Retrieved from

[2] Gupta S, Acharya R. Management of Padadari (cracked feet) with Rakta Snuhi (Euphorbia caducifolia Haines.) based formulation: An open-labeled clinical study. Ayu. 2018;39(4):208–12.

[3] Lippsett L. Scientists find trigger that cracks lakes: Fast-draining lakes atop Greenland ice sheet could accelerate sea level rise. Oceanus. 2015. Retrieved from

[4] Gagnon AL, Desai T. Dermatological diseases in patients with chronic kidney disease. Journal of Nephropathology. 2013;2(2):104-9.

[5] A study evaluating three treatments for cracked heel skin. 2015. Retrieved from

[6] Loden M, von Scheele J, Michelson S. The influence of a humectant-rich mixture on normalz skin barrier function and on once- and twice-daily treatment of foot xerosis. A prospective, randomized, evaluator-blind, bilateral and untreated-control study. Skin Research and Technology. 2013;19(4):438-45.

[7] Safer JD. Thyroid hormone action on skin. Dermato Endocrinology. 2011;3(3):211–5.

[8] Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The roles of Vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):866.


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