The cracked skin that you may get around the edges the heels is often a painful problem if it is allowed to progress. This condition happens when the skin around the backs of the heel is dryer and thicker than it should normally be. When the callus builds up to create that dry thicker skin, it just cracks because it is not very supple or flexible. 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 a portal for an infection, so does need to be taken seriously. The reason behind these cracked heels is not totally clear. Some individuals just tend to have a dryer skin and some people, due to the way which they walk have a tendency to build up the callus around the edges of the heel. Being overweight is also a risk factor for cracked heels. Footwear which are open at the back are also considered to play a part in this problem.
The ideal way to manage the cracked heels is to find a skilled foot doctor to get rid of the thicker callused skin and then use an lotion to make softer the remaining skin. You could try and get rid of that skin yourself with something similar to a pumice stone or file, but that is a lot of work and needs to be done often. The emollient cream used after this needs to be applied on a regular basis to help keep the skin well moisturized and supple. There quite a bit of thoughts and opinions of what's the ideal lotion or emollient to use is and the optimum solution is the one which matches your skin. A bit of trial and error may be needed to get the best one. For cracked heels most foot doctors would recommend beginning with a urea based lotion.