20 Home Remedies For Cracked Heels + Causes & Prevention Tips

Tread without caution with natural options to heal that cracked skin on your heels.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. CP Thajudheen, MD
By Shaheen Naser

Cracked heels aren’t a big deal for most people, but they can be uncomfortable if they’re deep. These cracks can also cause bleeding. Home remedies for cracked heels focus on nourishing the skin and hydrating it to prevent further cracking and speed up the healing process.

Cracked heels are also known as heel fissures and are a frequent foot problem. According to a poll done by NPD, cracked heels affect 20% of US individuals aged 21 and above (1). They affect both children and adults and appear to be more severe in women. This article discusses various remedies you can use to help heal your cracked heels. Keep reading.

What Causes Dry, Cracked Feet?

Woman checking her dry, cracked foot.

Shutterstock

The skin on the soles of the feet tends to become drier as there are no oil glands present there. This dryness causes the skin to crack. Lack of moisturization, overexposure to pollution, and medical conditions, such as eczema, diabetes, thyroid, and psoriasis lead to dry and cracked feet. Read on to learn more about the home remedies for treating cracked heels.

Remedies To Get Rid Of Cracked Heels

1. Salt, Glycerine, And Rose Water Foot Mask

Rose water contains antioxidants that prevent cell damage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve dry and irritated skin (2), (3). Glycerine is an effective humectant that helps your skin retain its natural moisture levels (4). These properties can help moisturize cracked heels.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of glycerine
  • 2 teaspoons of rosewater
  • Warm water
  • Pumice stone/foot scrubber

What You Have To Do

  1. Add raw salt, one tablespoon of glycerine, and one teaspoon of rosewater to a basin filled with warm water. Soak your feet in this mixture for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Scrub your heels and the sides of the feet with a pumice stone or a foot scrubber.

(Or)

  1. Mix one teaspoon of glycerine, and one teaspoon of rosewater and apply it on your cracked heels. Since this will be a sticky mixture, you can wear a pair of socks and leave them on overnight.
  2. Wash off with lukewarm water in the morning.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this for a few days.

2. Vegetable Oil

Studies show that vegetable oils contain emollient properties, along with antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties. They act as nutritional building blocks for healthy skin. These potent qualities of vegetable oils can help treat cracked heels (5).

You Will Need

2 teaspoons of vegetable oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Wash your feet and dry them with a clean towel. Apply a layer of vegetable oil on the affected area.
  2. Wear a pair of thick socks and leave them on overnight.
  3. Wash your feet in the morning.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily before going to bed.

3. Banana and Avocado Foot Mask

Avocado contains vitamins A, E, and omega fatty acids and other nutrients that promote wound healing (6). Banana works as a moisturizer. These properties may help treat cracked heels.

You Will Need

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 avocado

What You Have To Do

  1. Blend a ripe banana and half an avocado.
  2. Apply this thick, creamy paste over your heels and feet.
  3. Keep it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash off your feet with lukewarm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

4. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly helps restore moisture to dry and cracked heels. It reduces water loss from the outer skin. This keeps your skin hydrated and soft (4). Woolen socks help trap the body’s heat and increase the effectiveness of the mixture.

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of Vaseline
  • Moisturizer
  • Pumice stone
  • Lukewarm water

What You Have To Do

  1. Soak your feet in warm water for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Use the pumice stone to scrub any hard or dry skin. Pat your feet dry.
  3. Apply moisturizer to the affected area.
  4. Apply Vaseline over it to lock in moisture.
  5. Put on a pair of woolen socks. Keep them on overnight and wash your feet in the morning.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this regularly before going to bed.

5. Paraffin Wax Natural Remedy

Paraffin wax acts as a natural emollient that helps soften your skin. It is an effective treatment for cracked and sore heels (7).

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of paraffin wax
  • 2-3 drops of mustard/coconut oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix paraffin wax with mustard oil or coconut oil.
  2. Heat the mixture in a pan until the wax melts properly.
  3. Allow this mixture to cool down to room temperature. Apply it to your feet before going to bed and wear a pair of socks.
  4. Wash off in the morning.

How Often You Should Do This

1-2 times a week before going to bed.

Caution: Do not dip your feet in the wax when it is hot. If you have diabetes, do not try this treatment.

6. Honey

Honey is a natural antiseptic that helps heal cracked feet, and its soothing properties help revitalize the skin (8).

You Will Need

  • 1 cup honey
  • Warm water

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix one cup of honey in half a bucket of warm water.
  2. Soak your feet for about 15-20 minutes in the water-honey mixture.
  3. Scrub off gently.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this regularly for soft and supple feet.

7. Rice Flour

Rice flour can help exfoliate, purify, and remineralize the skin, making it satin-smooth and soft (9).

You Will Need

  • 2-3 tablespoons of ground rice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 3-4 drops of apple cider vinegar

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix two to three tablespoons of ground rice with a few drops of honey and apple cider vinegar to make a thick paste.
  2. If your heels are extremely dry and cracked, you can add a teaspoon of olive oil or sweet almond oil to the mixture.
  3. Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes and gently scrub it with the paste to remove dead skin cells from your feet.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply this foot scrub 2 times a week.

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil has nourishing properties that make your skin soft and supple (10). However, it is not suitable for all skin types. Therefore, do a patch test before using it on the affected area.

You Will Need

1 tablespoon of olive oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply some olive oil with the help of a cotton ball and gently massage your feet in a circular motion for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Wear a pair of thick cotton socks and wash off after an hour.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

9. Oatmeal Remedy

Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that help get rid of dead skin cells and soften the skin (11).

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of powdered oatmeal
  • 4-5 drops of olive oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the powdered oatmeal and olive oil to make a thick paste.
  2. Apply this paste to your feet, especially over the heels and any cracked parts. Leave it on for about half an hour.
  3. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every alternate day.

10. Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has nourishing, moisturizing, and skin barrier repairing properties (12). This helps soften and soothe dry and cracked feet.

You Will Need

4-5 drops of sesame oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply sesame oil to your heels and any other cracked parts.
  2. Massage well until it is absorbed by the skin.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily before going to bed.

11. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil moisturizes dry skin and also helps get rid of dead skin cells (13). It can penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin and nourish them (14).

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • A pair of socks

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply coconut oil liberally on your feet.
  2. Slip on the socks and go to bed.
  3. Shower as usual in the morning.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this for a few days.

Stylecraze Says
Opt for cold-processed, unrefined, extra-virgin coconut oil. Pure oils contain more nutrients than processed coconut oil.

12. Listerine Soak

Soaking your feet in Listerine can soften the hardened dead skin and make it easier to be scrubbed off. Listerine is also an antiseptic and soothes the skin because of the phytochemicals like menthol and thymol that are present in it. However, there is no scientific evidence to back these effects.

You Will Need

  • 1 cup Listerine
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups of water
  • A basin
  • Foot file or pumice stone

What You Have To Do

  1. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes in the liquid mix containing the above-mentioned ingredients.
  2. Remove your feet and scrub them using the foot file or pumice stone to slough off the dead skin.
  3. Rinse with clean water, pat dry, and moisturize.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every day for 3-4 days until the dead skin wears off.

13. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a commonly used exfoliant (15). It removes dead cells and also soothes the skin. However, this remedy is better to avoid if you have deep fissures which appear like wounds.

You Will Need

  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • Warm water
  • A bucket
  • Pumice stone

What You Have To Do

  1. Fill two-thirds of the bucket with warm water and add the baking soda. Mix well until the baking soda dissolves in the water.
  2. Soak your feet in this mixture for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove your feet from the soak and scrub gently with the pumice stone.
  4. Rinse with clean water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a week.

14. Apple Cider Vinegar

The mild acids present in ACV act as chemical exfoliators (16). They help soften the dry and dead skin and reveal fresh and healthy skin.

You Will Need

  • 1 cup apple of cider vinegar
  • Warm water
  • A basin

What You Have To Do

  1. Fill the basin with enough water to soak your feet in – about three to four cups.
  2. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix well.
  3. Soak your feet in the water for about 15 minutes and scrub to remove the dead skin from your feet.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this the next day or after a day’s gap, if required.

15. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt softens the skin and also soothes tired feet (17). It also improves skin barrier function, reduces inflammation, and keeps your skin hydrated (18).

You Will Need

  • 1/2 cup of Epsom salt
  • Warm water
  • A foot basin

What You Have To Do

  1. Fill the foot basin with water and mix Epsom salt in.
  2. Soak your cracked feet in this for 15 minutes. Scrub to remove dead skin.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this 2-3 times a week.

16. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera soothes dry and dead skin. It heals the ridges and cracks that have formed by increasing collagen synthesis. The amino acids present in it help soften the skin (19).

You Will Need

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Lukewarm water
  • Foot basin
  • A pair of socks

What You Have To Do

  1. Soak your feet in lukewarm water for a few minutes.
  2. Pat dry and apply aloe vera gel liberally on your feet.
  3. Wear socks and leave the gel on your feet overnight.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every night for 4-5 days.

17. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil helps reduce inflammation (20). It also has wound-healing properties that help in healing the cracks. Coconut oil (or love oil) moisturizes dry skin and heals cracks.

You Will Need

  • 5-6 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • A pair of socks

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the tea tree oil and coconut oil (or olive oil).
  2. Apply the blend to the cracked feet and massage for a minute or two.
  3. Cover your feet with socks overnight.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every night before going to bed.

Caution: Do not use tea tree oil directly as it can lead to rashes.

18. Pumice Stone

The rough surface of the pumice stone can easily scrape off the dead skin to reveal healthy and soft skin.

You Will Need

  • Pumice stone
  • Warm water
  • A basin/tub

What You Have To Do

  1. Soak your feet in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Scrub your feet gently with the pumice stone to remove the dead skin cells.
  3. Rinse with water and pat dry. Do not forget to moisturize your feet.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

Caution: Do not scrub too harshly with the pumice stone as it can damage the healthy layers of the skin.

19. Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil nourishes and hydrates the skin and makes your heels smooth and soft (21).

You Will Need

Vitamin E capsules

What You Have To Do

  1. Make a hole in about three to four capsules and collect the oil present inside in a bowl.
  2. Apply this oil to the affected area and massage it in for a minute.

How Often You Should Do This

Reapply vitamin E oil 2-3 times a day.

20. Shea Butter

Shea butter hydrates, nourishes, and moisturizes the skin (22). It also possesses healing properties and improves various skin conditions related to dryness because of its vitamin A and vitamin E content.

Ingredients
  • 1-2 tablespoons organic shea butter
  • A pair of socks
How To Do
  1. Apply shea butter on your feet and massage them for a minute or two so that it is absorbed easily.
  2. Slip on some socks and leave the shea butter on overnight.
How Often Should You Do This

Repeat this for a few nights for soft heels.

Stylecraze Says
Mango and Avocado butter are good substitutes for shea butter.

With proper care, it takes about 7-14 days to see the first signs of healing. This depends on how severely your heels are cracked. If you have skin issues like psoriasis and eczema, or medical conditions like diabetes and hormonal imbalance, visit your doctor immediately to avoid adverse effects.

Check out the causes of cracked heels below.

What Causes Cracked Heels?

WOman checking her cracked heel.

Shutterstock

There are many factors responsible for dry, cracked heels. There are no oil glands present in the skin of your heels. Thus, if proper care is not taken, they get dry, thereby causing the skin to crack and bleed. Other reasons for cracked heels are:

  • Skin conditions, like psoriasis and eczema.
  • Medical conditions, like thyroid, diabetes, and hormonal imbalance.
  • Exposing heels to pollution.
  • Excessive walking and standing on hard floors for long.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dry, Cracked Heels?

Close-up of dry, cracked heels

Shutterstock

The symptoms of dry and cracked heels are:

  • Dryness around the heel area and in the area on the underside of your feet, just below the toes.
  • Red and flaky patches of skin.
  • Skin peeling in thin strands.
  • Cracks and ridges in the skin.
  • Itchiness
  • Bleeding from the cracks.
  • Discharge from the cracks due to a developed infection.

Prevention is better than cure. There are many home remedies and lifestyle tips to prevent cracking of heels. Take a look.

Tips To Prevent Cracked Heels

Person applying foot cream on their heels to prevent cracked heels

Shutterstock

  • Proper moisturization is the first step to prevent dry heels.
  • Wearing comfortable shoes, refraining from excessive walking, and avoiding overexposure to pollution are the easiest ways to prevent cracked heels.
  • Scrubbing your heels regularly with pumice stone and dipping them in warm salt water or water with lemon juice added to it can keep them clean and soft.
  • Relaxing your feet and indulging in foot massages with oil also prevents dryness and cracked heels.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated and supple.

Infographic: Essential Oils For Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can be painful and need to be taken care of to mitigate the risk of infections or other complications. Along with plant oils, certain essential oils can help in healing cracked heels and providing protection against fungal or bacterial infections.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about the best essential oils you can use in foot soaks or DIY foot creams to heal broken and dry heels.

essential oils for cracked heels [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Cracked heels or heel fissures can not only be uncomfortable and unsightly but may also cause bleeding and increase the risk of health complications and infections. As the heels of the feet do not contain oil glands, the skin tends to get dry, and a lack of moisturizer application, exposure to pollutants, and certain medical conditions like diabetes, eczema, thyroid, and psoriasis can worsen the problem. You can apply different home remedies to help the healing process. Rosewater, glycerine, oatmeal, rice flour, petroleum jelly, paraffin wax, honey, and aloe vera are a few ingredients that you can use to make home remedies for cracked feet. In addition, keep your feet well moisturized, avoid exposing them to pollution, de-stress your feet, take foot massages using natural oils and treat underlying medical conditions to prevent dry and cracked heels.

Now that you know how to get rid of cracked heels, what are you waiting for? Try out these home remedies for cracked heels and see the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does diabetes cause cracked heels?

Yes, diabetes is one of the causes of cracked heels (23). Uncontrolled blood sugar levels damage the nerves of the feet, which leads to dry skin. As there are no oil glands present on the skin of the feet, they are usually dry. The thick dry skin on the heels, known as callus, can develop heel fissures. As it is overly dry, it cracks and bleeds. People with diabetes are prone to serious infections from cracked heels that are difficult to treat. Hence, taking good care of the feet and treating cracked heels in the initial phase is advisable for individuals with diabetes.

How long will it take to cure cracked heels?

With proper care and relaxation, it takes about 7-14 days to see the first signs of healing. This depends on how badly your heels are cracked, skin issues, like psoriasis and eczema, or medical problems, like diabetes and hormonal imbalance.

Why do only heels crack but not other parts of the feet?

As there are no oil glands on the skin of your feet, this area tends to become dry. The skin on the heels is thick and dry, and with excessive activity, it tends to bleed and crack. Standing on a cold or hard floor for long, intensive walking, and being overweight are some of the reasons heels crack. The middle part of the foot is hollow and well secured. Most of the body’s weight is borne by the heels. As they are dry and bloated, they tend to crack easily. At times, these cracks go deep and start bleeding.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.
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author
Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Bharathiar University. She is a Geneticist with proficiency... more

Dr. CP Thajudheen

(MD)
Dr. CP Thajudheen has over 20 years of experience in various lasers, light-based devices, and other advanced equipment. He was... more

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