Cracks develop in skin which has hardened and thickened around the edges of the heels. Eventually this causes the skin to split, resulting in a cracked heel. If the skin becomes too thick and too hard, the cracks will deepen, become very painful and may bleed. Any split of the skin which bleeds is at risk of becoming infected.
The most common cause of cracked heels is the wearing of open backed shoes, such as thongs and sling backs of high heels.
Patients who are overweight or have bare feet may also suffer from this painful condition.
Some conditions such as diabetes will cause the skin to become dry.