Can Exercise Make Cracked Heels Worse?

Cracked heels can be an incredibly painful and even debilitating ailment, notably because they can make it difficult to walk and move around. Many fitness enthusiasts adopt a work through the pain mentality, and may be tempted to push themselves through a workout despite dry or cracked heels. However, if you notice your heel cracking, it may not be wise to continue your regular workout routine. 

There is a connection between exercise and cracked heels. Not only can exercise make cracked heels worse, your exercise routine may be the cause of your cracked heels. Below, we’ll talk over how exercise can worsen cracked heels and steps you can take to protect your feet. 

Painful and debilitating problem

Cracked heels can be painful and even debilitating. If you notice your heel cracking, it may be time to reconsider your workout routine.  Cracked heels can make it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time, and if left untreated, the problem will only get worse. There are a few things you can do at home to help heal cracked heels, but if the problem persists, it's important to see a doctor or podiatrist for professional treatment.

Pain is the most common symptom of cracked heels, but the cracks can also lead to inflammation and infection. If left untreated, cracked heels can eventually become so severe that you may need to seek serious treatment.

If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor if you develop cracked heels. Diabetes can cause nerve damage and poor circulation, which can make it difficult to heal cracks. Ignoring the problem may lead to serious complications, such as ulcers or amputation. 

If you have any other medical conditions that affect your feet, such as arthritis, it's also essential to see a doctor if you develop cracked heels. These conditions can make it difficult to treat the cracks at home and may lead to serious complications.

As mentioned, there are many potential causes of cracked heels, but the most common is dry skin. When the skin on your feet becomes too dry, it can start to crack and peel. This is more likely to happen if you don’t moisturize your feet regularly or if you have certain medical conditions that cause dry skin.

Other potential causes of cracked heels include: 

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes: Shoes that are too tight or rub against your heel can cause the skin to crack.
  • Standing for long periods of time: This can put pressure on your feet and lead to cracking.Having calluses or corns: These can make the skin on your feet thicker and more likely to crack.
  • Obesity: Being overweight puts extra strain on your feet, which can cause cracks.

Why does exercise make cracked heels worse? 

Why are exercise and cracked heels related? One of the biggest causes of cracked heels is friction. Excessive friction near your heels can dry out your skin, which could eventually lead to cracking.

If you spend a lot of time at the gym or engaging in outdoor activities like running, it’s hard on your feet. When your heels continuously rub against your shoes and socks, they can become dry and start to crack. 

cracked heels

Continuing your regular workout routine can exacerbate cracked heels. This is especially true for those who engage in activities like running or jogging. The pressure from pounding your feet on the ground or the treadmill over and over again can cause fissures and cracks in the skin to get much worse. 

While cracked heels are generally not serious, they can sometimes become infected. They can also simply be very painful over time if left untreated. If you start to notice your heels cracking, ease up on your exercise routine and take steps to help your feet heal. 

How can you avoid cracked heels? 

If regular physical activity is important to you, you’re likely looking for ways to keep up with your daily workouts without risking foot issues. There are plenty of ways to avoid cracked heels and other skin conditions to begin with, and ways to treat cracked heels if they do occur. 

There are a few things you can do at home to help heal cracked heels, including soaking them in warm water and using a pumice stone.

One of the best ways to deal with cracked heels is to soak them in warm water for 10-15 minutes daily. This will help soften your skin and make it easier to exfoliate. Gently massage the affected area with a cotton ball soaked in olive oil or other lubricant. This will help loosen the nail and reduce pain.

Use a clean, sharp nail clipper to trim the ingrown nail back as far as possible without causing further irritation. Be sure to file down any sharp edges. If the ingrown toenail is severe or not responding to home treatment, you may need to see a podiatrist for further care. You can also try using over-the-counter creams or ointments designed to treat dry, cracked skin. These can help speed up the healing process.

After soaking, use a pumice stone or other exfoliating tool to gently remove any dead cells. Be sure to moisturize your feet well afterwards.

We recommend Delfina Skin Oil as your solution for treatment and prevention of cracked heels. 


There are some home remedies you can use to help heal cracked heels, but if the problem persists, it's important to see a doctor or podiatrist for professional treatment. Ignoring cracked heels can lead to more severe problems, such as infection or difficulty walking.

Choose the right footwear

First of all, make sure you choose shoes that fit. If your shoes are too tight or too loose, this can increase friction and dry out your feet. Make sure there’s at least ⅜” and ½” between your longest toe and the end of the shoe and that your heels don’t slip around while walking. 

Second, there is no one-size-fits all option for workout shoes. Whenever possible, look for shoes tailored to the type of workout you do most frequently. For example, opt for running shoes specifically if you’re running or jogging frequently. If you’re a hiker, look for footwear specifically made for hiking. 

Always wear socks when you workout, but make sure to choose synthetic, breathable material that wicks moisture. Cotton socks are generally a bad choice for exercise. Instead, go for materials like polyester or acrylic. 

Stay hydrated 

Keeping your body hydrated – both while you workout and throughout the day – helps keep your skin moisturized.

Make sure to drink water throughout the day, especially after a long workout. This helps you stay hydrated from the inside out. 

cracked heels

Also, keep your environment hydrated. During the winter months especially, air can get cold and dry. Investing in a humidifier can help. It will make your skin healthier overall. 

Give your feet some extra care

The reason there’s a connection between exercise and cracked heels is that almost all physical activity is hard on your feet. If you’re going to take extra steps to move more every day, you need to develop a solid foot care routine. 

Using a pumice stone regularly can help remove dead skin, helping you avoid dry skin and cracking. To use a pumice stone, soak your feet in warm water for about 20 minutes and then gently rub the stone over dry areas to remove the outer layer of skin.

You should also apply moisturizer to your feet regularly.

We recommend Delfina Dry Skin Oil. Delfina penetrates the skin’s outer layers to stimulate hydration from within, treating the root causes of dry skin and related conditions like cracked heels.

Not only can Delfina help as a solution for cracked heels, it can treat them as well. In fact, once skin cracks occur, Delfina is the only effective treatment method. Simply put, if you have Delfina, you will not have cracked heels. Learn more about how Delfina works here and see how it’s successfully treated cracked heels here.

Just be sure, when using moisturizer, never to moisture just before working out. This can make your feet slippery, potentially leading to injury.  


Exercise and cracked heels can be related. If you’re experiencing cracked heels, consider your workout routine. If you’re not wearing proper shoes, moisturizing regularly, and engaging in high-impact exercises like jogging or running, there’s a good chance this is causing or worsening your cracked heels. 

A few simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in improving cracked heels. We know how important it is to find a skincare routine that works for you, and that cracked heels can be a painful, debilitating condition. If you have any questions about Delfina Dry Skin Oil or treating cracked heels in general, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.