I have very bad cracked heels and sores on my feet. What can I do?

Patty Bonsignore


Diabetes can cause an increase in dry skin, particularly of the feet. If severe enough, the dry skin can then begin to crack, leading to open sores and wounds which can then get infected. If you have sores on your feet, it’s important to let your doctor know about this as soon as possible and have your feet looked at to make sure the areas are not getting infected. Because dry skin on the feet is a common problem in diabetes, we advise people with diabetes to moisturize their feet every day. This includes the whole foot, top and bottom, but not in between the toes (this can sometimes lead to skin breakdown). Over the counter creams usually work fine, but avoid those that have alcohol or heavy perfumes in them because these ingredients can lead to more irritation and dry the feet out even further. Soaking the feet is NOT recommended because it can dry the skin out even further and, if you have loss of feeling in your feet, put you at increased risk for burns. If the dryness is severe enough, over the counter creams do not always work and a prescription may be needed. This you would get from your primary care provider, your diabetes specialist (if you have one) or your podiatrist.

January 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

10 replies

allrosie1 2012-09-02 15:50:18 -0500 Report

Thanks for the tips to NrsWendy, NursePat, and also MaryNils. I will use these for my heels and big toes that are cracked and hurting!! I'm a Type 1 for 44 years now and want to keep the use of my feet!!

hannatu 2012-02-24 08:34:11 -0600 Report

I have dry skin on feet but it is soften now that I am applying moisturiser twice a day,

eleilani1940 2012-02-06 14:13:34 -0600 Report

The skin on my feet use to be very dry but I started using the new Dove go fresh cool moisture beauty bar with cucumber and green tea scent, I used all kinds of creams and it didn't do as good as this soap in the past my doctor was surprised to see how nice my feet looks, the skin on my feet are nice and soft, you should try it.

lynnj 2012-01-27 21:46:11 -0600 Report

I posted that question about heels and sore feet, had tried all the over counter stuff - like flexitol, etc none worked, saw skin dr - on clobetosol, other pricy prescriptions for months - didn't work, started the urea 20% cream from podiatrist,also bought one at walmart - not as strong, both cost about 20 a bottle - my heels are almost totally healed in just about 2 weeks, 2 days ago, still could barely walk, but now feel great, also have been wearing good support shoes around home most of the time, and put aquaphore -over the counter by eucerin, I think on heels on top of other cream - working wonders…

nrswendy 2012-01-27 11:03:29 -0600 Report

I am a nurse but also a diabetic. The winters are terrible for my heals. I had seen a podiatrist in the past that sold me a foot cream for my heals that cost me $10 for a small tube. Later, I found the same cream at Walmart for about 1/2 the price. I put the cream on my heals at night and then put on a soft cotton sock. Even the deep cracks heal in no time at all. This is great cream and it is reasonably priced. You won't be sorry if you try this. Flexitol Heel Balm For rough, dry and cracked feet. For diabetic and general footcare. Flexitol Heel Balm Contains 25% chemically synthesized urea in a highly concentrated moisturizing and emollient base. Not tested on animals.
INGREDIENTS: Purified Aqua, Urea, Lanolin, Petrolatum, Decyl Oleate, Dicocoyl Pentaerythrityl Distearyl Citrate, Propylene Glycol, Paraffin, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Oleate, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Aluminum Stearate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid, BHA, Parfum.
Apply to rough, dry, cracked and thickened skin on feet. Apply twice daily, morning and night. Recommended for adult skin only. Stinging may occur in deep cracks. Discontinue use if local irritation or rash occurs during use.

jodie blond
jodie blond 2012-01-27 06:07:52 -0600 Report

my feet have been sore and heels and sides cracked for over a year. My doctor wrote me a script for clobetasol propionate cream which is $60.00 and he hasn
t healed it yet. It gets better a day or so but worse again. So I need help!!

stormz 2012-01-26 23:19:20 -0600 Report

I use the Nivea Body Souffle. Works pretty good. Cleared up my heels really good. I had a bad problem after I broke my right ankle and leg. The skin was really dry and peeling off within several days of using this it was gone. Granted I tried a bunch of other things prior but they didn't work. Once I started using this poof the dry cracked heels gone the peeling skin gone. I really give it 5 stars and it's not greasy. It can be used as a day face moisturizer. Added plus ladies. Just thought I'd let you know. God Bless!

Suzze 2012-01-26 19:23:07 -0600 Report

I started using heeltastic in December, it has worked wonders. I put it on in the evening, put on anklet socks and leave it on overnight. After 5 days my heels were no longer cracked and tender. CVS has a reasonable priced product.

Marynils 2012-01-26 19:11:57 -0600 Report

You need to consider using magentic insoles, they really improve blood circulation and the increased blood flow will help your body heal itself and not result in possible amputations. You can get result faster.

Mary Nilssen, MA, RHIA, CRM
Healthy Type I, over 60 years

nursepat1 2012-01-26 18:56:28 -0600 Report

As a nurse I have seen what neglecting foot care can do. I have a patient on home health that started with a simple crack that progressed to a large ulcer. She needed to have the infected tissue excised which left a 3/4" divet in her heel. Now she is going through about 12 weeks of vacuum therapy; while it is working, it wouldn't have been needed if she would have listened to doctors and family. She is now in end stage renal failure and refuses to continue dialysis so the eventual outcomes are up in the air.