Calluses occur all over the body, usually on the hands and feet, but can occur wherever the body experiences repetitive friction. In this article we will focus on calluses on the bottom of the foot, called plantar calluses. These typically develop from improper walking patterns, most likely caused by shoes that do not fit properly. The worst offenders are high heels, so much worse in fact that women are almost four times as likely to have foot problems than men.
The best treatment for calluses is prevention. Whenever you buy shoes make sure they are the correct size, no shoe should feel tight or uncomfortable when first placed on the foot. Have the sales associate actually measure your feet, they have something designed for this called a Brannock device, you probably remember it from childhood. You may be surprised that you’ve been wearing the wrong size of shoes for years. Also, contrary to popular opinion there is no such thing as a “break in” period for shoes, this is something created by shoe salesman to move more product. Shoes should be comfortable before you leave the shoe store. Make sure to always wear socks with shoes as well, they can prevent rubbing and friction on your feet.
Corns are similar to calluses, but they occur on the top of the foot or between the toes. Corns are classified as either soft or hard, the soft ones occurring between the toes and the hard ones on the top of the toes. Soft calluses usually appear as an open lesion, and hard corns are hard and can have a yellow or even greyish appearance. The fifth toe, sometimes referred to as the pinky toe, is more likely to have a hard corn than other toes. As with calluses the best treatment of corns is prevention. Look for shoes that are not pointed at the toe, and have ample space in the toe box, the area of the shoe where the toes go.
If you currently have a painful callus or corn then a visit to your local podiatrist is recommended. Your podiatrist has several methods to remove or reduce the calluses and corns. Your podiatrist will also give you instructions for follow up care to make sure that the callus or corn does not return.