What Causes Painful Cracks in My Feet?

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Cracks & Fissures: Cracks and fissures are breaks in the skin due to skin that is too dry or too moist. When skin is too dry it can become rough and flaky, and at the heel large cracks and deep fissures can form. When skin is too moist, bacterial or fungal infections may occur and cracks can develop between the toes. For most people, it’s a nuisance and cosmetic problem but it can become painful and potentially serious, as the cracks allow bacterial to enter and an infection can occur.

People who wear open shoes or who walk barefoot are at risk of heel cracks. Those who wear shoes without socks, or wear socks that don’t breathe are at risk for moist skin problems.

If you have cracked heels, a regular foot care regimen should start. This includes removing thickened skin with a foot file (on dry skin) or a pumice (on moist skin). Consult a foot care specialist if you are unable to do this yourself at home. A good moisturizing cream should be applied. Footwear should be switched periodically to closed shoes or wearing socks with open shoes. Consult your doctor immediately if there are signs of infection, including the heel becoming red, hot or with pus.

If you have cracks between the toes due to excess moisture, your foot care regimen should include ensuring drying between the toes after bathing, changing socks more frequently, rotating shoes daily, wearing shoe and socks that ventilate and using anti-fungal creams as appropriate.