The cracked skin that you can get around the edges the heels can be a painful condition if it is allowed to develop. This problem happens when the skin around the backs of the heel is dryer and thicker than it should ordinarily be. When the callus builds up to create that dry thicker skin, it simply splits as it is not very supple or adaptable. The split that develops in the hard skin, then tries to split or rip the good skin below it. In the most severe cases, this becomes painful, might bleed and become an for an infection, so does need to be taken seriously. The explanation for these cracked heels is not completely understood. Some individuals just have a tendency to have a dryer skin and some people, due to the way that they walk tend to build up the callus around the sides of the heel. Being overweight can be another risk factor for cracked heels. Footwear that are open at the back are also thought to play a role in this disorder.
The easiest method to take care of the cracked heels is to find a competent podiatrist to eliminate the thicker hard skin and then use an emollient to soften the rest of the skin. You could try and remove that skin yourself with something like a pumice stone or file, but that's a lot of work and needs to be done often. The emollient cream used after this needs to be put on regularly to keep the skin well moisturized and supple. There is a lot of opinion of what is the ideal lotion or emollient to use is and the optimum solution is the one which matches your skin. Some trial and error may be required to find the best one. For cracked heels most foot doctors would suggest starting with a urea based ointment.