How to Safely Remove Calluses At-Home

How to Safely Remove Calluses At-Home

Calluses can be a nuisance, even though they are your body’s way of protecting itself from repetitive friction, pressure, or other irritation. This thickened, hard skin is especially common on the balls of the feet, as well the heels and sides of the big toes and/or pinky toes. Calluses are generally not harmful, but more severe cases that are not treated can become very painful to walk on and create an imbalanced stride over time. Calluses can sometimes ulcerate and lead to infection as well.

But it’s important to note that removing calluses can sometimes be a tricky business. If you are diabetic or have neuropathy you should consult a specialist before attempting to remove calluses.

First and foremost, it is never advised to have your calluses shaved off with any sort of shaving or cutting tool. These are common tools found at some pedicurists, and can quickly lead to cuts and scrapes that easily become infected. You’ll want to avoid opening the skin in any way when treating a callus.

There are three recommended steps for treating calluses from home:

  1. Begin by soaking the affected area for around 20 minutes in a warm salt bath. This softens the callus and prepares the skin for the next step.
  2. Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently scrub the affected area, moving in a circular motion with the stone or file. Avoid overly vigorous scrubbing or filing, as this may cause trauma and tearing of the skin, which can lead to bleeding and open sores.
  3. After exfoliating, thoroughly dry the area. Apply a foot moisturizer to the affected area right before bed, and cover with socks to help keep the skin softened overnight.

You may need to repeat this process for a few days until the callus starts to soften or become less thick. There are a number of old wives’ tales for treating calluses, but the best course of treatment, if this method is unsuccessful, is to see a podiatrist.

Often, a callus might be mistaken for a corn, but they aren’t the same condition. Corns tend to be smaller than calluses and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed tissue. Corns also tend to develop on non-bearing areas of the feet, such as the tops of the toes from friction against shoes. Calluses, on the other hand, tend to be flat whereas corns are rounded bump-like irritations with cores that grow inward, sometimes causing intense pain from pressure against nerves.

For this reason, if you are unsure whether you have a corn or callus, or if the above at-home treatment isn’t effective in minimizing or removing a callus, or if you are diabetic or have neuropathy with corns or calluses, you should request an appointment with one of our podiatric specialists today for a foot exam by clicking here or call any of our convenient office locations in the Piedmont Triad. Our specialists can safely reduce the thickness of a callus, as well as properly prescribe moleskin pads or changes in footwear to help alleviate the pressure that is causing the callus. Orthotics are sometimes recommended when calluses are caused by imbalanced gait or poorly fitting shoes.

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