Are Foot Calluses Harmful?

Have you noticed a hard, thick patch of skin on the bottom of your foot? It could be a callus. Calluses are built-up areas of skin that form when your foot undergoes repetitive pressure or friction.

Calluses can be unsightly, but they’re harmless most of the time. Foot calluses can start causing problems when they get very thick or if you have diabetes.

If you’re concerned about foot calluses, trust your care to Lisa Burson, DPM, Joe Aoun, DPM, and our team at The Foot & Ankle Specialists. We regularly treat painful and problematic calluses to preserve foot health.

How calluses form

A callus is a thick patch of skin that develops as a result of repetitive rubbing, friction, or pressure. It’s your body’s way of protecting underlying skin from irritation, and they can stop blisters from forming. 

Calluses are areas of built-up skin, and they’re generally painless unless they become too thick. Corns are a similar foot condition, but they have a hard center and are often located on or between the toes. 

Foot calluses often develop on the soles of feet, balls of the feet, and around the heels. They may also appear on the sides of feet or at the edges of your big or little toes.  Anyone can get a foot callus, but they’re most common in people who wear ill-fitting shoes and those who stand for long periods of time during the day. 

When calluses pose health risks

A callus is a patch of thickened skin that forms to protect an area of pressure or friction, and most of the time, it isn’t cause for concern. However, calluses can cause complications if left unchecked. 

Very thick calluses may protrude from the skin’s surface so much that walking on them hurts or wearing shoes becomes uncomfortable. Sometimes, built-up calluses crack and get infected, which can be extremely painful.

Calluses pose the greatest health risk to people living with diabetes. Diabetes damages blood vessels and nerves in your feet, which affects your ability to feel pain. Calluses can mask pain and contribute to slow-healing foot wounds called ulcers. 

Getting calluses removed

If you have a painful callus or you have diabetes, it’s time to see a podiatrist. At The Foot & Ankle Specialists, Dr. Lisa Burson and Dr. Joe Aoun specialize in removing corns and calluses to keep your feet healthy.

Getting a callus removed is a simple procedure that’s done during your normal office visit. We safely remove calluses with sterilized equipment, gently trimming away the built-up callus without damaging surrounding skin.

Once your callus is gone, we can help you find ways to keep feet comfortable. Making adjustments to your footwear can help reduce pressure and friction and therefore, calluses.

We may recommend custom orthotics or diabetic inserts designed to redistribute pressure across your feet, which can reduce calluses. In some cases, wearing thick, padded socks may be all you need to do to stop friction from creating painful calluses.

Never try to remove calluses on your own. Taking matters into your own hands is dangerous, because you risk removing too much of the callus and causing infection.

Don’t let calluses compromise your foot health. Schedule your comprehensive exam by calling The Foot & Ankle Specialists location nearest you, or request an appointment online.

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