Calluses

Callusing is a condition that occurs when patches of skin that are exposed to a continual friction or pressure begin to harden and protrude. Calluses are hard, dry, thick, and may appear discolored gray or yellow. They may be less sensitive than surrounding healthy tissue, and may therefore protrude and feel cracked and dry. They are most commonly found on toes as well as other parts of the feet and hands where friction and pressure occur most.

Similar to corns (a more temporary version of calluses that have a core center and form with the addition of moisture), they are more annoying than painful. Pain typically happens when individuals are walking or wearing shoes that do not fit properly. The skin surrounding the callus can be painful with red and inflamed tissue. Worse, the skin around the callus is actually dying as it the callusing spreads to healthy tissue.

Causes

Our bodies are a complex structure of pressure points and joints. The feet take the brunt our body’s entire weight, which puts extra pressure on several areas of the foot (especially the toes and heels), which causes much deeper problems than calluses. Together, they can actually alter the structure of the delicate bones in the ankle, foot and.

One of the reasons farmers, ballerinas, runners, construction workers, tennis pros and many others develop calluses is the repetitive motion caused by their activities. Most of these repetitive motions include a component of friction, working in tandem to produce heat, blisters (which often turn into calluses) and stretching at the same point of contact over and over again.

Most high heeled shoes fit in just an awkward enough position to create excess friction on the back of the foot below the ankle. Any bumps where the skin protrudes can be a catalyst for callusing as well. RA, bone spurs and bunions are common areas. The toes and heel of the foot are most prone to dry skin and are prime areas for cracked skin where calluses popularly form.

Treatments

Most treatment options are non surgical. Treatment can be done at home with a combination of foot maintenance tools. Hydrocortisone and moisturizing creams work well for early stages of dry itchy skin to keep it moist and vital. For those chronic calluses that are un-phased by alternative solutions,  there are devices that shave, file or grind down dead skin one layer at a time to reveal more vital skin. These are good options if you need a quick, home remedy for callused hands or feet..

A food doctor can determine whether more serious problems like infection cause (or are caused by) callusing , and can decide whether or not to prescribe antibiotics. Problems with bone structure that cause callusing could call for surgical intervention. However, callusing is less of a cause than an effect where it is secondary to the more serious problems.

Prevention

The best way to prevent foot calluses is to purchase shoes that fit correctly. Even if it costs more to special order shoes for those hard-to-fit sizes, the benefits far outweigh the potential problems bad shoes cause. Avoid wearing heels. This is easier said than done in the pursuit of height and trending fashion, so taking a break from heels can be beneficial. Avoid repetitive motions that cause friction by providing a barrier between areas of concern. Some use bandages for this purpose. Finally, ensure skin is kept moist and avoid products like harsh soaps that dry out the skin.

Treatment with Superior Foot and Ankle Clinic

If a podiatrist thinks your callus is being caused by abnormal bone structure, gait or other orthopedic issues, shoe inserts or surgery to correct foot abnormalities may be recommended. If calluses have made work (or play) difficult, contact Dr. Vikki today at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center in Long Beach, California and schedule your consultation. She can also help you pick out the perfect pair of shoes, and go over any other issues you may have.