This article was published on: 08/17/21 9:44 AM

Cracked Heels & Fissures

Our skin is the largest organ in the body. It’s primary job is to protect everything underneath. There are 2 main layers, an inner layer with nerves and blood vessels and a protective waterproof outer layer. The bottoms of our feet are extra durable to provide a thick barrier to endure friction and pressure from the ground when we walk.


As long as the moisture balance of the skin is maintained, the skin is strong and resilient. Skin that is too dry or too moist becomes weak, which can lead to cracks and risk of infection. Bacteria and viruses like to live where it’s warm, dark and moist (our shoes and socks) but they are also found on surfaces where we walk every day.

In the summertime, many of us choose to wear sandals to feel more comfortable in the heat. If a sandal is supportive, the heel will experience less pressure when striking the ground during walking or gait. It is important to remember that dry heels and unsupportive footwear or walking barefoot are a recipe for disaster when it comes to the health of our heels.


Although not common, bacteria that enter heel cracks/fissures can travel into the blood and surrounding tissues. At first this can cause cellulitis, which is an infection and inflammation of the skin. If left untreated this infection can lead to amputation or sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can lead to death if not immediately managed in a hospital setting.


BioPed Footcare clinicians recommend using a foot file on a regular basis to keep the skin around the heels soft and reduce thickness.  The Footlogix FR Exfoliating Foot File is an effective tool to prevent cracks from forming in the first place. After filing your heels, it is beneficial to use a moisturizer that absorbs quickly, such as Footlogix Very Dry Skin. Twice a day cream applications in colder months and once daily in warmer months is a good guideline to follow.

If you have calluses around your heel, it is recommended that you visit a Footcare Nurse or Registered Chiropodist for care. They will remove thick callus or dry flaking skin, which will allow for better penetration of moisturizers and prevent future cracks from occurring. Pedicures at reputable salons (salons who sterilize their tools properly) feel lovely, but they should not be a replacement for medical care or advice. And for some, such as those individuals who have diabetes, a pedicure is not advisable as it is simply too risky.

If you would like to learn more about cracked heels and other ailments, or speak to a member of our Footcare Team, please visit one of our locations across Canada!