Foot calluses make it more difficult to look great in a strappy pair of sandals. These thickened areas feel rough and irregular, and they’re not pretty to look at from a cosmetic standpoint, but they usually don’t cause significant pain or discomfort. Still, most people want to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons, especially as they summer approaches and they want to wear open shoes.
What Causes Them?
Calluses form on areas of the feet that are exposed to constant friction, pressure or rubbing. People who do a lot of walking are prone towards them, especially if they wear shoes that don’t fit properly. A poor fitting pair of shoes will repeatedly rub against the foot and cause calluses to form. These areas of thickened, rough skin actually have a useful purpose. They shield the foot against repeated friction. Two common places where they form are on the heels and on the balls of the feet.
How to Treat Them
Because they’re not usually painful, they don’t require treatment except for cosmetic reasons. But when it’s time to wear a more revealing pair of shoes, it’s nice to have feet that are free of calluses.
The first step in treating calluses is to soften them by soaking the affected foot in a pan of warm water. Once the areas are soft, wet a pedicure file, and use the rough side to file down the thickened areas using a gentle, circular motion. Once you’ve filed the areas down, turn the ceramic file over, and use the other side to smooth and buff. This handy instrument works well for even hard-to-remove calluses.
Once you’ve filed the area down, use a foot peel or exfoliator to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and smooth out the callused areas. Regular exfoliation helps to improve the texture of calloused feet and make them more sandal-worthy.
After patting your feet dry, apply a moisturizer to soften the area around the old calluses. Apply it once in the morning and again in the evening. After the evening application, put on a pair of 100% cotton socks that you’ve warmed in the microwave for 15 seconds, and wear them overnight for additional softening.
Diabetics have special needs when it comes to foot care and shouldn’t try to treat calluses and other foot problems at home. If you’re diabetic and have calloused feet or other foot problems, see a podiatrist instead of doing home treatments. Even a minor scratch or skin injury can lead to infection in a diabetic.
How to Prevent Future Problems
Choose shoes that fit properly, and save high heels and strappy sandals for special occasions. Don’t wear them when you’re going to be walking around a lot. Avoid shoes with narrow toe boxes that force your toes too close together. Socks that don’t fit properly can be a problem too. They can bunch up inside a shoe and rub against the foot. Athletes are at higher risk for calluses when they don’t wear appropriate athletic shoes and socks that fit well. If you work out, visit an athletic shoe store, and ask for help in getting the proper fit.
The Bottom Line?
Most people can successfully treat foot calluses at home by softening the calloused areas and filing them down. Once the areas are treated, exfoliate and keep them moisturized. Most importantly, take a closer look at your shoe closet, and eliminate shoes that don’t fit properly. It’ll keep those pesky calluses from coming back.