A callus is a hardened area of skin on the foot caused by friction between the shoe and a prominent bone, or bone spur. This thickened skin can form on top of nerves and/or fluid-filled sacs causing intense pain and soreness. These conditions most often occur along the heel, the ball of the foot, or the outside of the big toe. So while calluses affect the skin, they actually point to an underlying bone issue.
There are several common types of calluses:
- Corns are small regions of thickened skin on the toes caused when bones press up into footwear or rub against neighboring toes. Corns often appear as hard spots on the toe or soft, sore areas between the toes. While ill-fitting footwear is usually the culprit, deformities such as hammertoe or claw toe can also cause corns.
- A plantar callus is a thickening of the skin under the foot, indicating undue pressure on one of the long bones of the foot, called metatarsal bones. While these types of calluses are usually treated without surgery, some chronic plantar calluses may require surgery to reduce stress on the metatarsal bone.
- Affecting the ball of the foot, intractable plantar keratosis is a callus resulting from a clogged sweat gland and bone pressure.
Here are some treatment options for corns and calluses:
- Getting fitted for more supportive, comfortable shoes and prescription orthotic inserts
- Using pumice or emery board
- An effective home remedy is to soak the foot in warm water, then slough away the thickened skin with a pumice stone or emery board. Using a quality lotion will soften the affected area
- Visiting a podiatrist, who can trim or shave the affected skin with a scalpel; our office can also treat severe cases, where pain medication or cortisone injections are needed