The cracked skin that you can get at the back of the heels can be a painful condition if it is allowed to develop. This problem occurs when the skin around the backs of the heel is dryer and thicker than it should typically be. As this callus builds up to create that dry thicker skin, it just cracks since it is not too supple or flexible. The crack that occurs in the hard skin, then attempts to tear or rip the normal skin beneath it. In the worst cases, this becomes painful, can bleed and be an for an infection, so does need to be taken seriously. The reason for these cracked heels is not totally understood. Some individuals simply tend to have a dryer skin and some people, because of the way that they walk have a tendency to build up the callus around the periphery of the heel. Being overweight can also be a risk factor for cracked heels. Shoes which are open at the back are also considered to play a part in this disorder.
The best way to manage the cracked heels is to find a competent podiatrist to get rid of the thicker callused skin and then use an cream to make softer the remaining skin. You could try and remove that skin yourself with something like a pumice stone or file, but that is a lot of effort and needs to be done a lot. The emollient ointment used after this should be put on regularly to keep the skin well hydrated and flexible. There is a lot of opinion of what is the ideal lotion or emollient to use is and the best solution is the one that matches your skin. Some experimentation may be required to find the best one. For cracked heels most foot doctors would suggest starting with a urea based ointment.
What causes cracks in the skin around the heel?