Calluses are hard, thick, flat patches of skin that form as a response to long-term pressure and friction. If you play golf or do a lot of work with your hands, you may get them on your palms and fingers, but they’re also quite common on the soles of your feet.
Although calluses rarely cause any physical discomfort or pain, they can be unsightly and irritating. Fortunately, there are a few gentle home care strategies that can be employed to treat and thin an existing callus and prevent future cases.
One word of caution, though: we strongly discourage any form of “bathroom surgery,” and that goes double if you have diabetes or any other condition that slows circulation or suppresses immune response. If you are at heightened risk of infection due to such conditions, please see us first before attempting any home care.
With that caveat out of the way, our top tips include:
- Give your feet a nice, relaxing soak in soapy water to soften your callus before a trim.
- Use a pumice stone, emery board, nail file, or even a wash cloth to gently file down a layer or two of the toughened skin. Do not, ever, use a knife or any other sharp object.
- We recommend against any corn or callus remover products containing salicylic acid or other medications unless specifically recommended by our team, as such pads can damage or infect healthy skin if used improperly. However, non-medicated pads can help protect and cushion the callus from further friction and pressure.
- Use moisturizer on your feet to keep skin soft and lock in moisture.
- Make sure you’re choosing socks and shoes that fit well and are comfortable, cushioned, and provide plenty of support.
By reducing the amount of friction and pressure as well as keeping skin soft and carefully and safely removing layers of dead skin, you can shrink and eliminate an irritating callus over a period of time.
If a callus or other skin condition on your feet is causing discomfort, frequently recurring despite employing prevention strategies, or at elevated risk of infection, please give North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute a call for an examination and treatment options. To set up an appointment, give us a call at (512) 593-2949 today.