Cracking heels are itchy and painful. While this condition is usually not serious, it can signify a more serious problem. You should see your doctor if you have dry skin on your heels that’s not improving or other symptoms such as pain or itching in other parts of your body. There are many possible causes for cracked heels, including dry skin, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, diabetes, and vitamin deficiency.

Dry skin

If you have dry skin, Heel cracks are likely to be a problem. Dry skin occurs when the natural oils in your body aren’t adequately replenished, leaving your feet vulnerable to cracking.

Many factors can contribute to dry skin. Low humidity levels can be one culprit; if your home or office is not properly humidified, it could cause your heels to crack. Other contributors include:

  • Low or high room temperatures
  • Dry air from heating systems or air conditioners
  • Cold weather outside; using harsh chemicals on your hands/feet such as chlorine in swimming pools or soaps containing alcohols like propylene glycol or isopropanol.

When it comes down to it, though: The answer isn’t as simple as just getting some lotion on those heels!


Diabetes can cause dry skin and other problems, including infections and skin conditions. If you have diabetes, your feet may also be affected by nerve damage, making it hard to feel pain or temperature changes. This makes it harder to notice your feet getting injured or infected until it’s too late.

Deficiency of Vitamin A

Heel cracks are more common in developing countries where vitamin A-rich foods are not widely available. If you lack this vitamin, you might experience night blindness and other symptoms associated with poor nutrition.

Because it can cause liver disease, vitamin A deficiency is also associated with liver problems. In that case, your risk for vitamin A deficiency may increase significantly because these medications interfere with how well your liver processes fat—and therefore block absorption of this important nutrient into your bloodstream.

Deficiency of Vitamin B3

The most common cause of cracked heels is a deficiency of vitamin B3, also known as niacin. Niacin is found in meat, fish, eggs, legumes and whole grains. 

The body uses vitamin B3 to convert food into energy or glucose, and it helps support healthy skin cells. If you have a low level of this essential nutrient, it can lead to dryness, making your skin more prone to cracking due to friction or pressure when walking around on bare feet!

To prevent this problem from occurring again in the future: eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), iron, and zinc; drink plenty of water each day; if possible, then wear soft socks made from cotton instead of nylon ones made from plastic material.

Athlete’s Foot

The athlete’s foot is a standard foot fungus that causes itching, burning, and cracking of the skin between the toes. An athlete’s foot is also known as tinea pedis. The athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus called Trichophyton. The fungus thrives in warm, moist places such as showers and swimming pools. It can also be spread from person to person through contact with an infected area of skin or contaminated items like shoes or socks (1).

Athletes’ feet cause dryness on your feet because it damages the outer layer of skin (stratum corneum). 

Fungal Infection

Fungal infections are common in people with diabetes, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, and dry skin. The body is less able to fight off fungal infections than it is bacterial or viral ones. When the skin becomes cracked and broken, it gives fungi a chance to take hold. People who have been on steroids for a long time are also susceptible to this problem because steroids make the skin more vulnerable.

The Epilogue

One of the first steps to getting rid of cracked heels is checking your feet with a doctor. See your family doctor or a dermatologist if you have cracked heels and it’s not improving.