What are calluses?
A callus is an area of hard, thickened skin that can occur on any area of the foot that sustains increased pressure or repetitive shear force. Calluses are seen as a skin problem but actually occur because of bony structural deformities.
Causes of calluses
Calluses or corns form from small amounts of repeated friction and pressure over a long period of time on a bony prominence on the foot. The body protects itself by thickening the skin in response to the pressure. Calluses typically develop under high pressures areas such as the ball of the foot.
Symptoms of calluses
Symptoms associated with calluses include:
- A noticeable area of hard, thickened skin
- Pain in the area of the callus ranging from sharp and shooting to dull and aching
Diagnosis of calluses
In diagnosing a callus, the physician will examine the affected area and scrape off the callus in order to distinguish it from other types of skin lesions.
Treatment approaches for calluses include:
- Debridement (trimming) of the callus in the office with a scalpel to remove all excess tissue
- Custom or over-the-counter orthotics to alleviate high pressure areas
- Padding to take pressure off of toes
- Prescription topical keratolytics to help break up the hard skin
- Surgical procedures to address the bony deformities causing the callus
How to prevent calluses
- Wear appropriately fitted shoes with a wide and deep toe box to prevent pressure on your toes.
- Wear shoes that provide good shock absorption and support.
- Wear an orthotic device to help reduce pressure on the bottom of your feet.