When to treat calluses and when to leave them alone

When to treat calluses and when to leave them alone

A pedicure can be a blessing or a curse for people with hard skin, known as callus, on the soles of their feet. It was definitely not the answer for the battered and bruised feet of a 27-year-old, female runner from Boulder, Colorado. According to an article in well.blogs.nytimes.com, having a pedicure meant that her next few runs were going to be painful. Most of the time, a small amount of callus is not a problem, but a substantial build-up of callus on our feet is troublesome; for athletes however, callus can be beneficial to protect the skin from further trauma like blisters or soft tissue damage.

Callus is a thickening of the skin in response to pressure over the bony areas of the feet. Wearing shoes that are too loose, like flip-flops or sandals, or that don’t fit properly to the size and shape of your feet will most likely result in calluses. Walking barefoot or in an abnormal way, perhaps because of an injury or another structural anomaly, will also cause calluses. For the most part, calluses are not painful and appear as areas of hard, dry, thickened skin that may be yellowish in color and less sensitive than the surrounding skin. Squeezing across the callus may be painful.

To a certain extent, calluses can be prevented by careful choice of footwear and by moisturizing your feet daily. Small amounts of callus can be rubbed off with a washcloth or pumice after soaking your feet in warm water. It is not a good idea to use chemicals or skin “graters” to reduce thicker calluses as this can result in further complications. Thick calluses are best treated by a professional like Toronto-based podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M. who can pare down the correct amount of your thickened skin evenly and painlessly. It is also better to seek attention from a podiatrist rather than a pedicurist if you have circulation problems, lowered immunity, or a medical condition like diabetes.

 

Resources:

http://www.opma.ca/FHAM

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/should-runners-get-pedicures/?_r=0

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/foot-care

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/calluses-and-corns-topic-overview