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How to Care for Dry, Cracked Feet

If you are suffering from cracked feet it’s more than likely that you have a common condition known simply as dry skin.

Learn how to care for dry, cracked feet!

Learn how to care for dry, cracked feet!

This fairly common condition can range from simple dry skin to painful, peeling or flaking areas of the skin and/or red, itchy patches. It most commonly occurs on the heels, ball of foot, or sides of the foot.

Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is usually considered a cosmetic problem, but if left untreated it can lead to a variety of far more serious problems.


Dry feet are caused by a lack of moisture in the skin. There are several common factors that can lead to dry feet, including:

  • Excessively hot showers or baths
  • Skin conditions such as eczema
  • Using non-moisturizing soaps
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • Cold weather
  • Physical Stress
  • Low humidity
  • Aging
  • Lengthy exposure to the sun

Treatment For Dry or Cracked Feet

Treating dry feet usually begins with treating the underlying cause. Some people naturally have dry skin and must constantly take extra steps to ensure that their feet are moisturized at all times. The most common solution for dry feet is a therapeutic oil, ointment, or cream.

Most lotions are not recommended for dry feet because they contain alcohol, which can dry the skin further. Baby lotion is usually acceptable since it does not contain chemicals that irritate the skin. Additional treatments may include:

  • Topical creams: Creams that use keratolytic and humectant agents containing urea, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, saccharide isomerate, and petroleum jelly may all be successful. Apply these agents two to three times a day until healed.
  • Pumice stones: These stones, in conjunction with a nice foot soak, can be used to remove some of the excess dead skin that is preventing proper healing.
  • Bandages: In order to allow moisturizing agents to work more effectively and to prevent moisture loss, it is recommended that the area in question be kept covered throughout the day.
  • Orthotics: In some cases, a custom-made orthotic can redistribute pressure abnormalities on the heel that may be contributing to dry skin.

When to see a doctor for dry or cracked feet

If your feet have calluses, cracked skin, wounds, or rashes, dry skin that does not improve with creams or lotions, an evaluation by a podiatrist is recommended.

Many people believe they should see a dermatologist for their dry feet, but podiatrists are better qualified to address this problem.

Dermatologists are skin doctors and podiatrists are foot doctors, but podiatrists are trained in dermatology to help patients with skin conditions (dry skin, athlete’s foot, warts on feet, etc.) on their feet.

Follow Dr. Goldbaum on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33484



2900 N. Military Trail #210, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (SOUTH BLDG)



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472




General Podiatry

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