What Are the Causes of Sudden Dry Feet?

Dry feet are a common problem that can become painful if deep cracks develop in your feet called fissures. These fissures can become so painful that it hurts to walk. If the cracks are deep, they may even bleed. Heels are common place that cracks can develop, but dry feet can occur anywhere on the foot. There are many possible causes sudden dry feet, from shoes you wear to skin and neurological disorders.


Prolonged standing on hard floors can cause dry or cracked feet. According to OurHealthNetwork.com, years of standing in one spot can destroy the sweat glands in the feet and potentially cause dry or cracked feet. Additionally, being excessively overweight can also create additional pressure on the feet. According to ePoditary.com, the increased pressure on the normal fat pad causes it to expand sideways, causing cracks in your feet. Wearing padded and protected shoes can help prevent this from occurring.


Taking medications, such as diuretics or antihistamines, can cause your feet to dry out. Moisturize your feet regularly with an oil-based moisturizer to prevent further drying.

Open-Backed Shoes

Wearing open backed shoes such as sandals and flip-flops can contribute to dry, cracked heels. In open-backed shoes, the fat on the heal expands sideways increasing pressure on the heel, which can lead to cracks.

Skin Conditions

Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and athlete's foot can contribute to dry feet. Eczema and psoriasis are skin conditions that result in dryness on the skin throughout the body. This dryness can also occur on your feet. Athlete's foot is a fungal infection resulting in cracking and excessive dryness on the feet, according to MayoClinic.com. Athlete's foot is a fungus that grows in moist environments. Itching, burning and redness is also associated with athlete's foot. Most cases of athletes foot can be treated over the counter; if it does not improve, see your doctor.

Hot Water

Frequently exposing your feet to hot water, whether from hot showers, baths or foot baths, can cause your feet to dry out. Hot water breaks down the natural skin barriers and allows moisture to escape. Reducing the temperature of the water in your home can help to prevent dry feet.

Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions may predispose you to dry feet, such as neuropathy of the feet associated with diabetes and hypothyroidism. According to ePodiatry.com, individuals with these medical conditions have a reduction in sweating, leading to increased dryness of the skin and feet.