Calluses: Causes and Treatment

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Our skin goes through a lot, and the everyday wear and tear can sometimes result in lesions known as calluses. If you’re unfamiliar with calluses, they’re rough, thickened areas or patches on the skin that often look yellow in appearance. Oftentimes, they form on the feet, hands, and knuckles, and they relatively painless for the most part. They differ from corns because calluses don’t have defined edges.

Causes of Calluses

Calluses typically show up on parts of the body that receive a lot of pressure throughout the day. For example, our feet carry our body weight day in and day out. When imbalances occur, our feet take on more pressure, which results in friction on various parts of our feet. As a result of this friction, the skin thickens until a callus forms. Calluses are also common in people who have dry skin.

Symptoms of Calluses

Quite a few symptoms are indicative of the formation of calluses. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:

  • Hardened, Raised, or Thickened Bump on the Skin
  • Appearance of Rough Patches or Areas on the Skin
  • Painless Bump on the Skin
  • Cracking
  • Patches of Thickened Skin Without Edges or Borders
  • Subtle Throbbing in or Around a Rough, Raised, or Hardened Area on the Skin

Diagnosis of Calluses

If you think you may have calluses, visit your doctor for a checkup. During your checkup, your doctor will rule out other more serious causes of your rough or thickened skin, such as warts or cysts. A physical examination is typically enough to diagnose a callus, although your doctor might recommend a biopsy or X-rays.

Treatment for Calluses

Fortunately, calluses are fairly simple to treat. Many treatment plans involve changing to more ergonomic shoes and trimming the calluses. In some cases, your doctor might recommend surgery. For the most part, calluses tend to disappear gradually when the friction and pressure causing them lessens. Take a look at a few treatment options available to help prevent or get rid of calluses:

  • Medications: Your doctor might prescribe medications that are designed to help remove calluses. 
  • Callus Trimming: Your doctor should always be the one to perform this simple procedure that involves trimming away excess skin from the callus. Having the procedure performed by your doctor will cut down on your risk of infection.
  • Moisturizers: Moisturizing creams help prevent calluses from cracking. Once cracking occurs, the site of the callus becomes more painful, especially if it’s on a foot. 
  • Shoe Inserts: Not only do shoe inserts make shoes more comfortable, they also help cut down on the amount of friction and pressure placed on your feet, preventing the formation of future calluses.
  • Manual Removal: By using a pumice stone or other rough surface, you can remove your calluses naturally over time. 

Prognosis for Calluses

Because there are so many low-risk, simple treatment options available, the prognosis for calluses is excellent. Only on rare occasions is surgery recommended. With the right combination of self-dedication, medicines, and creams, your calluses should have no problem clearing up.