A callus is an abnormal amount of dead, thickened skin that builds up on an area like the bottom of your feet. They can be yellowish-red in colour and they do not feel like the rest of your skin on your soles. Primary locations include the ball of the foot (usually under the second metatarsal), and the end of your heel. Calluses do not look pretty or feel soft to the touch, but they are actually there to help. Your body produces them as protection to cushion underlying bone from pressure at points where there is little fat or natural padding. This may happen more as you age, since the fat parson your feet tend to loose their plumpness.

What causes calluses?

Calluses can crop up anywhere on your body wherever stress from excess pressure and  friction occurs. Having a bunion increases your chances of developing a callus because it may change your gait and put pressure on one part of your foots a result. People who weigh more will have more calluses. Menopause  also makes you susceptible to these rough spots because hormonal changes cause drier skin. If you are having a higher arched foot, you are more callus prone, putting more pressure at the ball of your foot. Calluses can sometimes be mistaken for something else. Sometimes thew will form around plantar warts, or foreign bodies such as splinters.

Why are calluses sometimes painful?

Calluses are an indication that you have a biomechanics problem that is causing extra pressure in one area of your foot. Sometimes a painful callus is caused by a misaligned bone or crooked toe. When one metatarsal is lower than its neighbours, more weight is placed on the region where the bone is lower. Some calluses are caused by a “dropped metatarsal” also called “ intractable plantar keratosis”. Sesamoiditis, hammertoes and bunions can be big problems, too.

How do you break the bad callus cycle?

-Start with your shoes (foot specialist can provide you with right suggestion according to your foot type)

-Don’t go backless. Avoid wearing open-backed shoes for a while since they just make calluses worse.

-Wear comfortable socks. Opt for those made of polyester or cotton, which are better at wicking away moisture.

-Use over the counter pads


-Do not try to avoid callus pain by walking lopsided, since it can cause damage in other parts  of the body

Make an appointment with your foot specialist who can help you with professional advice, and treatments which will successfully take care of this foot issue.


Written by: Lada Milos Lee