Calluses are areas of toughened skin that form in response to repeated friction and pressure. Your feet are one of the parts of your body most likely to develop calluses because of the near-constant pressure that comes from walking. Although most calluses are harmless, they can be unsightly and in some cases, indication of other health problems. Here are some thing that you can do to soften the calluses on your feet, although you should also take steps to reduce the pressure on your feet.
Most foot calluses result from excess usage. If you spend a lot of time walking every day, you are more likely to develop calluses than someone who spends all day at home. Since exercise is good for you, you want to keep walking but take steps to make sure that your feet is comfortable while doing so. Make sure your shoes fit well, since even small incompatibilities can result in callusing. Similarly, wearing socks can also help absorb some of the friction that comes from walking, although ill-fitting socks can cause additional callusing.
You can take simple but effective steps to soften calluses on your feet during your daily cleaning routine. First, soak your feet in hot water until the dead skin of the callus has pruned. Once the callus has loosened, use a piece of pumice, a metal file, or a similar tool to remove the excess skin. Be careful when trimming away the dead skin because excess force can either send the tool scraping across healthy skin or remove more dead skin that necessary. Although not dangerous, such scrapes can be painful and pose risks of infection. If your hand is not steady, you can use a washcloth to remove the loosened skin, although it won’t be as effective as either pumice or metal.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you can obtain patches that contain salicylic acid, which can soften foot calluses, in a topical application. These patches are available over the counter from your local pharmacy. Before use, it is recommended that you use warm water and a tool to remove as much of the callus as possible. You can also buy topical ointments containing salicylic acid at your pharmacy.
For more serious cases, a range of medical treatments might be necessary, depending on their cause. For example, if you have a problem with excess friction because of a foot deformity, your doctor can order custom-made shoe inserts to reduce friction when you walk. In more extreme cases, your doctor can recommend surgical operations to correct the sources of such problems. If the calluses on your feet are caused by bad circulation as a result of diabetes or a similar disease, please keep in mind that the affected region is prone to infection. You should remain on the lookout for signs of infection, and consult with your doctor, who can prescribe an antibiotic ointment for you.
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References and ResourcesMayo Clinic: Corns and calluses - Treatments and drugs
Mayo Clinic: Corns and calluses - Lifestyle and home remedies
MedlinePlus: Corns and calluses