Temperatures are dropping and winter can make the skin on your feet, especially your heels, super dry — dry enough to crack like a fault line. Even though sock season gives them a place to hide in plain sight, cracks in your heels can fracture into deep cuts, or fissures, that can be pretty painful and even get infected.

We asked board certified dermatologists Sheel Desai Solomon, MD, founder of Preston Dermatology & Skin Surgery in North Carolina and Samer Jaber, MD, founder of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City, what causes our heels to crack and what we can do to heal and protect them.