Calluses occur on the feet, between the toes, on the sides of the toes and under the toes. A callus is an area of hard and thickened skin. Usually, a blister first appears, then a callus, and, if the callus is not removed, a corn can also occur in the same area. Calluses most often occur due to footwear that is too tight.
Even if they are not painful, calluses must be removed. Very often, a corn will occur in that same spot, and removing a corn takes much longer.
How to distinguish calluses from corns
A good podiatrist can easily distinguish between a callus and a corn, however, a non-professional might have a problem distinguishing between the two, since in both cases there is an area of thick, hardened skin. Calluses are not as sharp as corns and do not have a core.
How to treat calluses
- Hard skin and calluses can be removed with appropriate sterile instruments.
- Incorrect removal of calluses at home can do more harm than good. Your skin in a way ‘memorises’ the procedure if you go too deep into the skin when removing the callus at home. When exposed to pressure or inappropriate footwear again, a new callus can form in that same area, however, it can be larger.
- To avoid having recurring calluses, have a professional remove it. A professional podiatrist also helps relieve pain in addition to removing the callus.
How to prevent calluses
- Calluses can be genetically conditioned. In such cases, we can only treat the symptoms, as the cause cannot be eliminated. But remember, calluses are often caused by other factors, such as oversized footwear.
- As we get older, our spines begin to deteriorate and our feet undergo some changes as well. Older people often complain that with the aging, they need shoes of a larger size. When you notice a callus, go see a professional podiatrist. Podiatrists not only remove calluses, we also look for the factors that are causing calluses and advise on how to prevent them from appearing again.
- Comfortable footwear is the key to callus-free feet. Make sure your footwear is not too small. Go shopping for new shoes in the evening, as that is when our feet are the largest. Always try on both shoes and take 5 to 10 minutes to walk around the store to see how the shoes fit your feet. Your new shoes should not be tight or uncomfortable—do not let the shop assistant convince you they will stretch out.
After your appointment with a podiatrist, you should continue with foot care at home. In you have calluses or hard skin, try incorporating foot baths in your foot care routine in addition to changing your footwear. We recommend you soak your feet several times a week or, better yet, daily. Add some salt and a teaspoon of olive oil to your footbath, or some salt and baking soda. Alternate between these two foot baths.