Your feet work hard. They bear your weight for miles daily, allow you to stand for hours, or wear shoes that add pressure on them. Calluses are often the result. This common foot ailment is usually painless but may carry serious health issues.
The medical field refers to calluses as tyloma or keratoma. To the average person, they’re thickened, hard skin. They’re usually the result of varying foot pressures. These include those tied to walking, footwear, or even having a bunion or other bony deformity. Some skin types are also more susceptible to developing calluses. As people age, their skin loses fatty tissue, leading to callus development.
The body develops a callus to protect an area from irritation. Chronic rubbing or intermittent pressure on an area will develop into thickened skin. You can find calluses anywhere on your foot. They are often called corns if you find one on the top of your foot. All calluses are problematic when they become too thick and cause pain.
Controllable risk factors include choosing appropriate fitting footwear as any extra pressure or rubbing of a toe or foot area on a tight shoe will most likely cause a callus. Uncontrollable risk factors include tight shoes or foot issues like bunions or hammertoes that rub in the shoe. Moreover, any extra pressure on the foot such as prolonged standing or being on hard surfaces, or excessive barefoot walking, can contribute to developing calluses. You should avoid wearing tight shoes, standing for too long, and high heels.
Calluses can become very thick and dry. When this occurs, they can split, causing bleeding and pain. If you have diabetes, this can cause severe infection or an ulcer that won’t heal. When that happens, amputation may become necessary. Healthy individuals can also develop problems on occasion. Open skin can cause an infection that can even infect bone or the blood, and this can lead to blood poisoning or sepsis, which can be fatal.
If you’re diabetic or elderly, only a podiatrist should remove your calluses. Podiatrists can reduce the size of calluses by using instruments at the office or if there is excessive sweating that is causing callusing, we can prescribe a special astringent that reduces the perspiration which can reduce callusing and dryness. Those with diabetes, compromised immune systems, or poor circulation should not self-treat.
Your podiatrist can painlessly remove the callus. They’ll also tell you which insoles or padding work best to relieve pressure. If necessary, they will provide a corrective appliance for long-term results. Remember that redistribution of pressure is the best solution for prevention.
If the callus is mild, treatment is unnecessary, and it will go away on its own. Self-treatment options include:
These are the three best ways you can prevent callus development on your feet. Regular self-care treatment will provide the best results.
Soak your feet in warm water to soften the skin, then gently remove dead skin with a pumice stone. You can also add any of the following to the water to aid in the process:
Use foot treatments such as foot masks and other skin-nourishing options. The best natural remedies are:
We have products at our office that we can prescribe that have specific ingredients that can help exfoliate heavy skin build-up. Clean the feet before application and use a foot cream designed for the feet.
Consider the factors causing daily exposure to irritation that your feet experience. These are the factors that led to the development of calluses. They include wearing tight-fitting shoes, flip-flops, and flat shoes, providing insufficient arch support. Remember to trim nails, use gel insoles to reduce rubbing and pressure, and consider wearing different shoes daily. Other factors that may need specialized care include using orthotics to correct any biomechanical alignment issues that can cause friction and calluses of bones or areas of your foot.
As mentioned before, there are some cases where you need to visit your doctor for treatment. Some are if you have diabetes, have a compromised immune system, or have poor circulation. Don’t try to treat this at home. Let Dr. Bever and Dr. Schoene examine your feet and may look at an X-ray to evaluate the foot alignment. Also, they’ll perform a biomechanical assessment to test your gait and how you walk. This may include inspecting your shoes and taking a medical history inventory.
When removing large calluses, podiatrists use a surgical blade to shave off dead skin. They’ll usually perform this painless procedure in their office. If the callus has been causing pain, they’ll sometimes use cortisone injections. Surgery may become necessary for cases that don’t respond to conventional treatment.
Do you have abnormal callus development? Or do you have any of the symptoms listed below? If so, we recommend you see Dr. Bever and Dr. Schoene without delay.
Are you a generally healthy individual? If you cannot correct the issue at home, please come in and see Dr. Bever or Dr. Schoene before the problem becomes more critical. Along with trimming the callus and discussing the dermatology issues, we may provide padded insoles, custom-designed shoe inserts, custom-designed footwear, or manipulation or mobilization to correct the misalignment.
To schedule an appointment with Gurnee Podiatry and Sports Medicine Assoc. , please contact us on our website, and we’ll be glad to find a time that works best for you.