Calluses may seem like one of the most simple foot conditions but there are a number of misconceptions about the causes and treatment of them. Here are some points that we at Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle want to make sure you know:
Myth: Calluses normally go away on their own.
Fact: Calluses appear as thickened patches of dry skin. They most frequently form on the side of the big toe, the heel or sole of the foot. Many people believe that calluses are a minor skin irritation but in reality, calluses form because of a bone disorder.
Myth: Calluses are not painful.
Fact: Actually, the reason why patients normally come to our board certified- podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh with a callus is because they are experiencing pain when walking or wearing certain footwear. When a mechanical problem exists in the foot, such as tight calves or fallen arches or a deformity exists, as in a hammertoe or bunion, the affected bone begins to push outward causing pressure on the foot. If it is actually protruding, the foot begins to rub against your shoes at that spot and the friction results in the development of a callus (blisters, corns, or sores may also form). As the pressure increases, pain and discomfort increase as well. In addition, bursa sacs and nerves can become inflamed under the callus creating more disabling pain. So, while a callus may look like a skin problem, the real issue is much deeper in the foot.
Myth: You can treat calluses on your own without a podiatrist.
Fact: While over-the-counter medications exist for calluses, you should have your callus examined by the foot doctor before attempting any treatment. Some non-prescription products can cause chemical burns if not used properly. Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut off the callus! You can try this treatment at home:
- Soak the foot in warm, soapy water.
- Then gently rub the skin of the callus with a foot file or pumice stone.
- Apply an extra-thick moisturizer to the skin when you are done.
The podiatrist will also be working to treat the cause of the callus with custom orthotics, changes in footwear or other therapies to correct structural and deformity issues. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the bone and alleviate the resulting pressure.