Many patients ask about the cracking in their heels. It is unsightly and can be painful if the cracks ulcerate. It is all about the use of sandals. The reason heels crack is that when we walk in sandals, the heel slips off of the sandal every 2 to 3 steps as shown in figure 1. This leads to a fissuring force at the heel leading to cracking.
If you already have cracked heels, you need to start using a moisturizing cream with high urea content at least twice daily. Filling down the fissures using a pumice stone can help. We at the clinic use an electric grinder to debride the fissures. But the most important aspect in preventing the craving is changing your footwear. You can either start wearing closed shoes with socks or wear sandals with a back strap (figure 2) to prevent the heel from slipping off of the sandals.
If the cracks ulcerate, they should be treated like any open wound using an antiseptic cream. Debridement of the edges of the ulcerated crack is also important.