Cracked heels (heel fissures) occur when the skin around the heel has become thickened and dry. The weight of the body on the heel when walking causes the thick dry skin to crack resulting in a painful wound. It is possible for these cracks to become infected so it is important to treat them as soon as they occur, and to use preventative treatment if you are prone to them.
If you have a heel fissure it is best to visit your podiatrist to have as much of the calloused skin around the fissure removed. This makes it easier for the skin to heal. It is also important to keep the area hydrated to aid healing. The use of a heel balm is recommended, and should be used regularly even after the fissure has healed to prevent recurrence. Paraffin wax treatments may be useful to keep the skin hydrated and prevent fissures, and regular visits to the podiatrist to have callous build up removed.