Calluses are hard patches of skin that commonly appear on many people’s feet. The most common cause of calluses is wearing inappropriate or ill-fitting footwear. Friction is created between the shoe and skin of the foot. The most common areas for friction to occur are the heel, toes, soles of the feet and anywhere that bunions form.
The formation of a callus is the body’s natural defence mechanism to protect the skin on the feet from injury caused by friction. Hard skin is more difficult to damage and can cope with friction. However, the callus itself can become painful. If you don’t remove them, they can even bleed and can become infected with microbes.
People with diabetics have to take extreme care because they are often unaware that a callus is forming and may not realise that it has become very large or deep or is seriously infected.
Diabetics also suffer from poor circulation in the extremities, which makes wound healing more difficult and this adds to the health risks. That’s why people who suffer from diabetes have to be very vigilant and regularly check their feet. Many diabetics visit a podiatrist on a regular basis for this very reason.
Diabetes causes nerve damage in the feet and so a seriously infected callus may cause a diabetic person no pain. If the situation is discovered too late, the consequences can be very severe and can even require amputation of the affected limb.
Here are some tips on foot care that everyone will find useful. These tips will help you prevent the formation of calluses on your feet and can help you get rid of them if they have already formed.
- Do not spend prolonged periods wearing high-heeled shoes, or any footwear that is uncomfortable for too long. Never walk long distances in ill-fitting shoes.
- Keep a pair of ‘walking’ shoes with you just in case you have to walk further than you thought. You could keep a pair in the car – just in case!
- Moisturise your feet. This should be done every day after a shower or bath. Every 1 or 2 weeks, submerge your feet in warm water, and use a pumice stone to soften the calluses.
- Never be tempted to cut out your calluses yourself with a sharp instrument. The area underneath is very delicate, and you could cause a nasty wound. If you do so, and end up cutting the skin underneath, you could introduce a nasty infection deep into the skin and this will only make the pain and discomfort worse. If you have very prominent calluses that cause discomfort, it’s best to see a medical professional such as a podiatrist who can help remove them without risk of greater injury.
- The moisturizing creams you use should be specifically designed for feet. You can find a wide variety of brands and prices at a pharmacists or beauty product shop. Body creams are not suitable for the feet.
- Avoid using thickly seamed socks because they can increase friction in specific areas and make matters worse. It’s best to use smooth socks made from a natural material such as cotton. Cotton socks will also prevent your feet from staying moist because they allow the sweat to evaporate. This discourages a condition called athlete’s foot which is caused by a fungus.
- Don’t forget that you’ve got feet over the winter time. Look after them all winter and they will emerge looking beautiful in the spring.
- If a pair of shoes is rubbing you try some protective cushions to pad out the area.
Home remedies for calluses
Soak feet for at least 10 minutes in warm water. Remove your feet from the water and then place a mixture of one tablespoon sodium bicarbonate plus a bit of water directly on the callus. Gently massage the area, and then rub with a pumice stone. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
Make an infusion out of four tablespoons of chamomile in one litre of water. Moisten your feet with the infusion. The chamomile will help alleviate any discomfort and will soften hard skin.
Cut a slice of lime and place it over the callused area. Attach the lime slice with a bandage and let it work overnight.