Thickening of the skin

Do You Have Calluses on Your Feet?

Calluses are hard, thickened areas of skin that form as the result of rubbing or pressure on the skin. Calluses can be small or large. They may be painless, or you may experience burning or throbbing in the area of the thickened skin.

What is it?

Calluses are usually formed on the sole of the foot and are an area of thickened skin that is an accumulation of the skin’s epidermis. Calluses will especially develop over a bony spot of the foot as the body’s natural way of protecting the area. Discoloration of the thickened skin can also occur. Calluses are not always painful, but usually pain will be felt with direct pressure and at times the underling tissue can become generally painful.

Studies have been done to show that callus patterns on the foot are often related to types of gait. Whether one has a flat arch or high arch and how they walk will tend toward calluses in the certain areas of the foot. At times identifying callus patterns can help determine the exact gait type a person has.

What Causes it?

Often the body creates a callus on the foot to protect the underlying structure from extensive pressure and stress. If there is a lot of rubbing on a certain area of the foot generally a callus will form. Calluses are often made worse with walking or standing because of the increased and repetitive pressure, and certain athletic activities can accelerate the forming of a callus for certain gait types.

Another common cause of calluses are shoes that are too small, too tight, or too narrow. High Heeled shoes or shoes with narrow toeboxes are culprits of calluses.

What Can I do?

There are things that you can do to reduce calluses, but it is important to determine what is causing the callus. If your shoes are causing the callus, wear different shoes. Be sure to choose shoes that have a wide toebox to allow plenty of room for your forefoot. Insoles made of shock-absorbing materials which redistribute pressure on the foot equally can prevent calluses or allow them to heal over time.

There are also some over the counter products for the treatment of calluses. Soaking your feet in warm water and then filing the callus with a pumice stone will sooth thickened skin. Non-medicated callus pads placed around the callus can relieve pressure. Pads containing salicylic acid can help dissolve the thickened skin.

Usually calluses are painless, but there are times when it is necessary to have it removed. See a doctor to have it removed, never try to remove it on your own.

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