Dry Cracked Heels & Feet: What to Know and What to Do

Dry cracked heels occur because there are no oil glands on the bottom of your feet. Without the body’s natural oil to keep it moisturized, it dries up easily and leads to fissures (painful cracks in the skin) and can even potentially lead to an infection.

A study done for the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, by the NPD Group, discovered that around 44 million people (roughly about 20% of the adult population in the US) over the age of 21 suffer from this condition. Are you one of them? If you are, try the simple home remedies below for relief.

What Causes It

In most cases, lack of moisture is the chief cause of dryness for your heels; making them sore and worse, bleed. However, you should know there are medical conditions that can cause overly dry heels such as athlete’s foot and diabetes. Also, while it is not an uncommon problem, it does seem to affect senior citizens and individuals with diabetes more.

With that said, having overly dry heels doesn’t necessarily mean you are suffering from any specific condition. The only way to know for sure is to talk to your doctor. So if you’ve been suffering from excessively dry heels for a while now, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your doctor, or a qualified professional.

If you’re just starting to notice this problem, it may not be so bad and can potentially be caused by one of the following:

  • Dehydration (not drinking enough water)
  • Hot baths, or showers
  • Long baths too often
  • Strong soaps that might be too much for your skin
  • Excessive scrubbing
  • Too much exposure to the sun
  • Imbalanced walking that exerts excessive pressure on the heels
  • Prolonged standing on hard floors (whether at home, or work)

Again, if the problem is excessive and prolongs, I would really recommend you speak to your doctor.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Cracked Feet

Some of the symptoms you can experience include:

  • Peeling of the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Redness of the skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Fissures, or cracks on the heels
  • Rough skin
  • Pain

Risks and Complications

There are some risks and complications you need to know about (even if you only have mild to moderate dry heels). This awareness can help prevent more serious problems from developing due to ignorance and neglect. Symptoms may be mild initially, but things can quickly escalate into a more serious problem.

Risks and complications you may face include:

  • Mild infection
  • Serious infection
  • Mild pain that may cause discomfort (such as burning and itchiness)
  • Severe pain that can make walking difficult
  • Expensive medical expenses for treatment

Cracked Feet Home Remedies

You do have alternatives to expensive products and treatments. You can consider much more affordale home remedies for dry cracked heels & feet like this.
Credit: Sarah Scicluna

Opting for natural home remedies has become popular because it is inexpensive, can be done in the comfort of your own home, and they provide some great results.

Lemon Foot Scrub

Cracks on the soles of your feet can be prevented and the dry and rough skin is healed by the lemon juice’s acidic components. Cracked heels are further helped by the glycerin as it softens the skin. The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory components of rosewater heal the cracks.

You need:

  • 2 tablespoons glycerin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • Warm water
  • A foot scrubber, or pumice stone

What to do:

  1. In a basin of warm water, add 1 teaspoon rosewater, around 8 to 10 drops of lemon juice, salt, and 1 tablespoon glycerin.
  2. Soak your feet in this mixture for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Scrub the sides and heels of your feet with a foot scrubber, or pumice stone
  4. Make a mixture of 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of glycerine, and 1 teaspoon of rosewater. Apply this to your heels and leave it overnight. Using a pair of socks will make you more comfortable as this is a sticky mixture. You can even loosely tie a bag around each foot to help seal in the moisture.
  5. In the morning, wash the mixture off using lukewarm water.
  6. Continue use this remedy every night until the heel softens. Sometimes it takes only a couple of days and sometimes it takes longer.

Because of the acidic properties of lemon juice, you do need to be a little more careful. The acid can cause further dryness and irritation. It’s best to do a simple skin patch test before trying this remedy.

Vegetable Oil

What you need:

2 teaspoons of any of vegetable oil (any brand is fine)

What to do:

  1. Wash your feet thoroughly and completely dry them with a clean towel.
  2. Apply vegetable oil generously on the cracked areas of the feet.
  3. Leave on overnight. I recommend you wear a pair of socks to cover them. You can even take 2 grocery bags (or any other plastic bags) and loosely cover each feet.
  4. Wash your feet off in the morning using lukewarm water and mild soap.
  5. Continue this treatment every night until healed, or the dryness disappears.

Why does this work? The dry cracked skin on the feet is nourished and moisturized by the vegetable oil. It’s as simple as that.

Avocado and Banana

Dry and cracked heels can be remedied with the natural fats, essential oils, and vitamins found in avocados. Combine it with the moisturizing components found in bananas and you have a potent, all natural remedy that can be made in just minutes.

What’s needed:

  • ½ avocado
  • 1 ripe banana

What to do:

  1. Blend together the half avocado and the ripe banana.
  2. Slather the avocado and banana mixture on your feet and heels.
  3. Leave it on your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.
  4. Apply this mixture every day until it heals.


Honey has soothing and natural antiseptic properties that can revitalize and heal dry skin.

What’s needed:

  • Warm water
  • 1 cup of honey

What to do:

  1. Put warm water in a bucket, or container large enough to soak your feet in.
  2. Add the 1 cup of honey into the bucket/container.
  3. Stir it until most of the honey has dissolved.
  4. Soak your feet in the mixture for around 15-20 minutes
  5. Gently scrub your feet to soften and make it supple
  6. Apply it every day, or often as possible until it heals.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a natural remedy which with nourishing oils and minerals.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Cotton balls

What to do:

  1. Use a cotton ball to apply the olive oil on your feet.
  2. Using a circular motion, massage the olive oil into your feet for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Let it stay on for at least an hour before.
  4. Wash it off using lukewarm water and a small amount of mild soap (skip it if you can stand the oily feeling).
  5. Repeat on a daily basis until the skin has become smoother and healthier.

These are just five of the many simple home remedies. One may work better for you than another, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see which one works best for your dry cracked heels.