29 Oct Four Steps to Prevent Calluses
A callus is a section of skin that has become toughened and thick because of friction, pressure or irritation. Most people get calluses on their feet, but they can even occur on the hands, elbows or knees. Calluses feel lumpy to the touch, but since the skin there is thick, they may be less sensitive to touch compared with the skin around it. Thickening of the skin is the body’s way to protect itself from friction at pressure points. Calluses occur when the skin tries to protect an underlying area from this. They are not dangerous, but they can cause irritation.
When it comes to your feet, calluses typically form over the bony area just under the toes which take your weight when you walk. They are more common among people who wear ill-fitting shoes, have sweaty feet, and those who stand for long periods each day. Here are some tips from our podiatrists Russel Rubin and Trevor Proskewitz to avoid getting calluses.
Check Your Shoe Size
First make sure you wear shoes that fit properly. Don’t wear shoes that are too large where the foot moves around, causing friction and rubbing. On the other hand, you don’t want to wear shoes that are too tight either, which can cause bunions. Make sure you get sized up regularly when you buy shoes since your feet can grow and change as you age.
Make sure there’s adequate insole padding within your shoes. This is essential to protect the feet, especially those who have a lot of bony prominences and are at risk for developing pressure sores. Older people can also suffer from fat pad atrophy, which is the gradual loss of the fat pad in the ball or heel of the foot. This can result in bones that are very prominent, which can cause rubbing and eventually callusing.
Our podiatrists recommend that you avoid buying and wearing pointy-toe shoes. Instead, choose styles with enough room around the toe area. Rounded or square-toed shoes are better than pointy toes as they lessen the chances of feet rubbing against the interior of the toe area.
Moisturise your feet regularly to prevent the thickening of roughened skin. Also remember to regularly exfoliate your feet with a pumice stone. Says our podiatrist Russel, “The epidermis under and around your feet is very thick compared to that of your ears or back. Make sure the cream you’re using has at least 15-25% urea. Urea is an organic crystalline compound which has a two-fold effect – it gently exfoliates (being a keratolytic) and also hydrates.”
Wearing the right socks also offers some protection from calluses forming. If you have a callus, wear socks that have extra padding in the heel and ball of the foot which are high pressure points.
Remember, if your callus (or corn) is very painful, or if you have diabetes, fragile skin, or circulatory problems, it is best to consult our podiatrists who will do a thorough examination of your feet, find out about your lifestyle, check your footwear. They will also remove some of the hard skin of the callus.