Calluses typically develop on the soles of feet, the palms, or the knees. For calluses on feet, they typically occur under the heels or balls. Calluses are rarely painful which is one of the distinguishing features from corns. Calluses are also typically larger than corns but they do vary in size and shape. Typical symptoms include a thick, rough area of skin, a hardened, raised bump, and flaky, dry, waxy skin.
Pressure and friction from repetitive actions can cause calluses to form and grow. Wearing incorrect fitting shoes and/or no socks/incorrect fitting socks can also cause calluses to occur and grow. High heels are one of the common causes of calluses on feet. Another cause of calluses on feet is uneven distribution of weight, typically on the heel or bottom of the forefoot. This causes a buildup of hardened skin resulting in a callus. Added risk factors for calluses include bunions, hammertoe, other foot deformities, diabetes, and other conditions that cause poor blood flow to the feet. To prevent calluses on feet, it is important to wear shoes that give the toes plenty of room and use protective coverings on the feet such as socks. It is important to limit the amount of time being barefoot as walking barefoot can cause calluses on feet and also a build-up of calluses.
Foot doctors can provide different treatments for calluses including medication, shoe inserts, and surgery if necessary. Moisturizing creams can help soften the skin and remove calluses. It is also important to keep the feet dry and to avoid friction by wearing properly fitted shoes and socks. As a general note, shoes should allow enough room for the toes to be able to wiggle. Also, feet are typically the most swollen at the end of the day which is why it is recommended to shop for shoes at the end of the day rather than the beginning. It is important to not use sharp instruments to try to cut off the calluses as that can cause additional injuries. It is always best to consult a foot doctor to determine the recommended course of treatment and evaluate the potential risks that the treatment may cause.