Does the sight of your feet make you cringe? Are you embarrassed by your dry, cracked heels? Don't worry – there are lots of us out there! Feet are a subject close to my heart. Here's what I've learnt over the years about how to deal with cracked heels.

Hard, cracked skin around our heels (also known as fissures) is very common in the summer. It's often caused by open-backed sandals and flip-flops rubbing around the edge of the heels. Not only is it unsightly, but it can also be very painful.

It's not surprising that weather and wear can take such a toll on our soles. Feet have fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, which makes them especially susceptible to dry air. Thankfully there are some simple things to try at home so we no longer have to dread baring our feet in public.

Using a heel balm twice a day can help. Applying it in the morning increases the elasticity of the skin on our heels before we get moving and helps decrease the occurrence of cracks. Simply Feet Heel Balm is highly rated by podiatrists and is very effective in treating severe cases of cracked heels. It contains 25% Urea, the skin's own moisturiser and breaks down hard, thickened skin helping repair and relieve cracks to leave it soft and supple. It's also lightly scented with mint so it smells lovely and fresh.

A pumice stone or a wooden foot file (like a giant emery board) can be used to reduce the thickness of hard skin. But be gentle or you could make matters worse and make sure you seek advice if you have diabetes. In more severe cases you may need the help of a podiatrist. Foot soaks can also be helpful but limit them to 10 – 15 minutes, 3 times a week as soaking for long periods dries out the skin.

If cracks start to bleed, apply an antiseptic to prevent infection and keep skin clean with a dressing as needed. Wear closed-in shoes and good socks when you can and drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. If your heels are very painful and bleeding, it's best to seek advice from a podiatrist.

Simply Feet Heel Balm and wooden foot files are available from www.cosyfeet.com

I am delighted to say that Cosyfeet are donating a pot of Simply Feet Heel Balm and a Wooden Foot File for my latest competition. Please go to www.oapschat.co.uk/competitions for details.