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Managing uncomfortable calluses

Last Modified: September 18, 2018

Family Medicine

Many Americans experience the uncomfortable buildup of skin that comes with busy activities and poor fitting footwear. Ashley Bojrab, DPM, AACFAS, ABPM, PPG – Podiatry, explains how to avoid the common callus and the proper approach to treatment.

What are calluses?

Calluses develop on the feet as a result of pressure, friction or irritation. Repetitive motion in shoes can cause the skin to thicken and build up, which often leads to pain when the skin gets too thick.

Why do they occur?

The body builds up the skin to try to protect itself from harm. The body can develop calluses on hands feet, elbows and knees.

Are there any risks related to calluses?

If calluses are neglected, they can become harmful. Due to increased pressure, the skin can break down under the callus and create an open wound, which could lead to infection. This can spiral into many serious issues.

What is the best way to remove calluses?

If you are experiencing thickened and rough skin, using exfoliating lotion to help soften the calluses can help. If you’re diabetic, it’s important to seek medical attention for proper treatment.

Is there any harm in treating calluses at home?

Most patients can manage their calluses at home by using a pumice stone. If you have poor circulation or are diabetic, it is very important to check with a healthcare professional before using the pumice stone. For more aggressive removal, the best advice would be to see a local podiatrist.

Can they be prevented?

Since calluses are formed due to increased pressure, it is best to make sure that shoes are fitted correctly and not causing rubbing or friction. To help redistribute the weight of the foot, orthotics may be helpful to lessen the pressure when walking.

When should you seek medical treatment for calluses?

If the calluses go untreated, the skin can build up so much that bleeding can occur under the skin. Wounds can develop if you don’t seek proper treatment. It is important if you are experiencing a red, hot, swollen area, with drainage and odor, to seek medical attention immediately.  


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