Calluses are areas of thickened skin usually creamy yellow in colour caused by excessive friction and pressure. The skin thickens to protect the area from friction and pressure, but once it becomes too thick it becomes painful. On the feet, calluses usually develop on the sole of the foot, commonly on the heel or at the ball of the foot under the metatarsal heads. This is because these are the areas where a majority of the pressure is taken. Calluses on the foot can develop into corns. Calluses may also form through wearing ill-fitting shoes. Wearing suitable shoes with correct width and depth, soft soles and lower heels may help to prevent calluses. Whilst the build-up of hard skin on the foot is natural, bony deformities (such as bunions), and an incorrect walking action can all contribute to the formation of calluses.
Signs and symptoms
Calluses are are similar to corns, however with no central nucleus pressing down on the nerve end. They therefore tend to cause a wider spread burning sensation with a reddened appearance, rather than the sharp pain associated with corns.
Treatment involves painless removal and sometimes deflective or comfort padding may be applied afterwards. Advice on how to maintain and help prevent the reoccurrence of the callus will be given by using a foot file at home. The use of foot files and emollients on a regular basis will help minimise the build-up. Diabetic persons should consult a registered foot health practitioner for all foot abnormalities, including calluses.