Cracked heels are not only a cosmetic problem. Caused by dry skin, cracked heels can be extremely painful, especially when callusing exacerbates the problem. Because the skin is broken, the area may become infected and further complicate the problem. Simple home treatments can mend cracked heels and keep skin smooth and soft to prevent further problems.
Soak feet in very warm, soapy water for 20 to 30 minutes just before bedtime. Rinse and dry feet well and apply a thick layer of "heel cream" that is formulated to soften calluses. Choose a product with an acid-free exfoliant and rich moisturizers.
Pull on a pair of heavy cotton socks. Sleep with the socks on to keep the cream concentrated on the heels and prevent it from staining the sheets.
Repeat the nighttime treatment for several days, soaking the feet each night before applying the cream. Use a clean pair of socks each night.
Use a pumice stone or callous file to remove calloused skin on cracked heels. Use the stone or file on dry skin for maximum removal. Follow up with Step 1.
Moisturize heels nightly after the cracks heal and calluses are removed. Continue to use the "heel cream" or a similar product formulated for the feet. Wear sturdy shoes instead of socks or slippers around the house to prevent dry skin on heels.
Do not cut, shave or pare calluses with a razor or knife. The skin beneath the callous could be easily lacerated, which would introduce infection. Diabetic patients should consult with a physician before treating cracked heels or other foot or nail problems.