Cracks in the skin round the heel is often both unpleasant and painful. This problem is caused by the thick or dry skin, on and around the periphery of the heels. The skin on the feet is often more dry and dehydrated than the skin elsewhere on the rest of the body most likely since there are no sebaceous glands within the thicker skin on the bottom of the feet. For this reason, your skin around the heels can lose flexibility and resilience as a result of that deficit of moisture. As a result of the stresses of walking, that dry skin can start to split and it can result in nasty, painful cracked heels that may sometimes bleed. There are many things which raise the chance for the cracked heels including higher loads, increased weight, unsuitable footwear (especially footwear that are open up at the back), inherited genes, unhygienic problems and poor footcare, and dietary inadequacies.
In order to avoid cracked heels, always attempt to use well fitted enclosed shoes which allow your feet to breathe and get away from footwear that are open at the back. You should remain well hydrated by drinking no less than two litres of water per day as that can help. Exfoliate the skin on a regular basis and moisturise daily with a good cream. When it is more severe, this should probably be carried out twice a day initially. You will find suggestions that omega 3 and zinc nutritional supplements could help (however they do need to be used with all the other solutions and not on there own). It will also help to avoid too much exposure of the foot to water or damp conditions. It is important that you clean your feet with warm water rather than very hot water. If these types of methods tend not to help, then see a qualified podiatrist. They will take away the thicker hard skin and give further suggestions about how you can self treat.