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Learn more about fissures and its symptoms and treatment options.

A fissure is a split in the skin, and the most common area to see a fissure form is on the heel. Fissures are a result of dry skin – when your skin is not hydrated enough, it can become rough and flaky, and possibly split apart, forming a fissure. The same problem can happen when skin is too moist. When your feet can’t or don’t ventilate properly, the excess moisture can encourage fungus and bacteria to grow.

  • Skin that is weakened due to bacteria can cause cracks
  • Finding the right balance of moisture is important to maintain a healthy environment for your feet that prevents fissures and cracks



Fissures often affect individuals who frequently walk around barefoot or wear sandals or open shoes. Cracks that result from overly moist skin occur for those who do not properly dry feet after bathing, sweat excessively, wear shoes without socks, or wear shoes that don’t ventilate well. Symptoms include:

  • Hard, dry, cracking skin on one or both heels
  • If cracks are severe, there may be pain when bearing weight on your heels
  • Thicker skin around the edges of your heel


A combination of lifestyle changes and treatment from your podiatrist can reduce the symptoms of heel fissures. You can reduce symptoms by:

Fissures caused by dry skin:

  • Moisturize skin – Apply lotion twice a day to heels.
  • Wear shoes that enclose your heel – Avoid shoes with open backs, and don’t go barefoot.
  • Antibiotic ointment – Your doctor may prescribe an ointment to prevent infection and help fissures heal.
  • If cracking is severe, or bleeding occurs, your doctor may tape your fissures, remove rough patches and/or prescribe medications.

Fissures caused by moist skin:

  • Antifungal lotions and powders – Your doctor may prescribe lotions and powders to reduce cracks and prevent infection.
  • Wear cotton socks – Don’t wear shoes without socks.
  • Dry feet after bathing – Dry entire foot with special attention on the area between toes.