Have you ever found yourself sitting in the podiatrist’s office, waiting for the doctor to trim your painful callus, and thinking, “Why can’t my doctor just cut out the callus so they never return?” If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from this painful condition, often with only temporary relief. And I have been asked many versions of the same question for years.
First, it’s important to understand how and why a callus forms. A Callus is extra layers of dry skin that the body creates as a way of protecting itself from excessive pressure or friction. This could be caused by tight-fitting shoes, the shape of certain bones, or even the way you walk. That extra pressure can cause damage over time. Without calluses, the skin could be rubbed away completely, leaving an open wound or ulcer that could easily get infected and lead to much more serious problems. So our bodies add extra skin in the areas that need more protection. Unfortunately, those layers of protection can also cause pain, especially if they’re on the bottom of our feet.
A podiatrist can’t permanently “cut out” the calluses, because as long as there’s pressure or friction, they will continue to form. Instead, we figure out why you’re getting them and create an individualized treatment plan for you, based on what the cause of the calluses may be. If the way you walk or the length of certain bones is causing the calluses, you may want to try orthotics, which would redistribute your weight more evenly throughout your foot. The orthotics are very lightweight and thin, and they can easily fit in almost any shoe and be transferred from one shoe to another. They are custom-molded in the office and can go home with you the same day. We might also need to offload the painful area by putting a self-adhesive felt pad around it, with a hole cut out for the callused area. Remember, calluses are caused by pressure, so if there’s no pressure, the callus will not build up. If your shoes are really snug, we might recommend that you get something with a bigger toe box (that’s the front part of the shoe that your toes sit inside), so they aren’t rubbing so much. Oftentimes, we have found that our patients get significant relief by making these small changes.
If there is an abnormality in the shape of the bone that’s causing significant pain, sometimes orthotics, shoes, and padding aren’t enough. If the bone is too large, too long, too short, or in an unusual position, you might need a more invasive procedure to either shave down the bone or change its position. These options are only considered when nothing else works and you are in significant pain.
If you’re tired of scrubbing those calluses or feeling like you’re walking on marbles, come to Advanced Podiatry and find out what we can do for you. You can call us at 813-875-0555 or make an appointment online. No one should have to deal with constant foot pain!
For more information on calluses and treatment options, check out these articles: