Calluses: Causes and Treatment

If you have thick, hard, buildups of skin on your feet or toes, you might have calluses. Calluses are extremely common and, though occasionally uncomfortable, are very manageable. Many people don’t experience any discomfort and in those cases the primary concern is the change in appearance. Though calluses vary, they are easy to diagnose and treatment mainly consists of self care and proper footwear. 

Calluses form on areas of skin that experience consistent friction or pressure. Common causes include ill-fitting footwear, wearing shoes without socks, going barefoot, frequent physical activities, long periods of standing or walking, poor posture, and more (Cleveland Clinic, 2019). Though similar to corns, calluses tend to be larger and rarely painful. They are frequently located in the big toe region, on the heel of the foot, and on the ball of the foot (Mayo Clinic, 2022). 

While any noticeable change should be addressed with a healthcare provider, calluses can typically be treated at home and only require invasive treatments like surgeries if other conditions are present. However, for diabetics, consulting a doctor is important when it comes to any change such as calluses (Cleveland Clinic, 2019). Diabetes can cause poor circulation and nerve damage which leads to pain going unnoticed. As a result, a physician will need to rule out any other conditions. 

At-home callus treatments focus on proper footwear and keeping the skin clean and moisturized. A doctor might trim down the hardened excess skin, but it is essential to avoid doing so on your own. Attempting to cut down the callus can lead to injury or infection (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Soaking the callused area and carefully using a pumice stone or nail file can help thin the skin. In some cases providers may prescribe medicated patches or recommend custom foot orthotics. 

Calluses are very common and very treatable. To learn more about calluses or to schedule an appointment, give us a call today. You deserve to feel comfortable and confident, and our team at Podiatry of Greater Cleveland is here to help you get there.