Calluses are probably the most common problems that affect the feet. In terms of the medical science they are not considered dangerous and they are more a cosmetic problem. However, they are usually unattractive and often cause significant pain so they need to be removed. It is always best to treat calluses when they first appear, because the accumulation of dead skin over time will make them much harder to remove.
What causes calluses
A callus is thickened skin that appears on feet due to pressure or friction, as a body’s natural response which aims to prevent lacerations and more severe damage of the skin and the tissue.
They usually appear on the ball of the foot, beneath the big toe or between toes. As a reaction to pressure and friction, the skin starts to thicken and a layer of dead skin forms. If left untreated, a callus will continue to thicken.
Several factors are considered to cause calluses. For example, people who frequently walk barefoot, without shoes and socks, are more likely to have calluses on the soles of their feet.
One of the most common causes of calluses are poor-fitting shoes. In addition, shoes with thin soles, high-heeled shoes and narrow shoes are usually responsible for calluses on feet.
People who have flat feet are more prone to calluses, because their arch is lower, the weight of the body presses more to the foot, causing the skin to shift forward and develop calluses.
Spending a lot of time on the feet, standing or walking, may increase the risk of developing calluses on the feet. The same goes for people who frequently jog.
Calluses often come along with other foot-related problems, such as hammer foot, bunions and arthritis.
Treatment for calluses
Mild and moderate calluses can be safely treated and removed at home. However, in some cases a callus is so thick and big that it needs to be checked by a professional, like a podiatrist.
Before attempting to remove a callus with a pumice stone, a file or a callus knife, the feet must be soaked in warm water, preferably with some baking soda dissolved in it, for at least 10 minutes. The skin will become softer and more manageable. The feet should then be thoroughly dried and callus should be rubbed with pumice stone or a similar item in order to remove dead skin. After this, the skin should be rinsed, dried and moisturized with a foot lotion. For best results, the moisture should be locked in by wearing a pair of clean cotton socks. This treatment will probably not have instant results and in most cases it needs to be repeated for several days, until the callus disappears.
Products like creams, lotions, gels and foams that soften the hardened skin and calluses are widely available in drugstores and pharmacies.