Growing up in a suburb of Philadelphia it was always an ordeal adjusting our baby soft feet to the rigors of barefoot walking in the summer. Come September our feet would be callused and tough, capable of surviving even the hottest pavement! Who knew some 30 years later this would be my first lesson in Callused feet!
Often times patients come to the office and complain of broad calloused areas of the feet which can become painful. Simply put, these callused areas are our bodies attempt at protecting itself. Unfortunately for those of us with calluses our bodies do not have an “off” switch to stop forming such areas of hard tissue.
In response to heavy pressure our body retains dead skin which is all a callus is. This dead skin initially forms a barrier of protection but as it grows big it becomes a focal point of pressure. The best example of how/why calluses form is that when astronauts go to space the bottom of their feet become baby smooth, and the top of their feet begin to callus since the tops are what holds them in place in microgravity!
At Healthy Feet Podiatry no problem is too small, calluses included! Typical treatment for calluses range from maintenance trimming similar to trimming of the toenails which is painless to active treatment. Active treatment depends to some extend on the location of the callus or activity causing the callus, but usually involves some sort of hydrating or keratolytic (callus eating) lotion in combination with pressure offloading. The absolute best way to offload focal pressure is with a custom molded orthotic which evenly distributes pressure across the sole of the foot. Sticking with my roots, its like standing on a frozen lake on one foot (and thus putting all your body weight on a 10x 4 inch area vs laying down on the frozen lake and spreading your body weight across a much large area! The ice is much less likely to break when laying down, and in this example orthotics are the laying down!
If you find that you have broad or focal areas of hard tough skin on your feet, call us at Healthy Feet Podiatry to schedule your same day appointment, and get started on the path to pain free feet!