Have you ever thought about how much time you spend walking or simply standing? The average person will take about 5,000 to 10,000 steps per day. Add in physical exercise and you can see how much work your feet do on a daily basis. Through all this daily wear and tear, you may begin to notice rough areas on the bottom of your feet where your skin feels thicker. The thickened skin or callusing of your feet is a normal skin reaction for your protection. However, how do you know if it is abnormal?
Calluses are thickened skin. Depending on where they are, they may be called a corn or bunion. No matter what it is called, it is callused or thickened skin. The thickening is your skin’s natural reaction to pressure or friction. It is abnormal when it is a single or solitary area rather than a diffused thickening of the skin. For example, if it is on the side or top of a joint such as your big toe or on your toes, it can be a problem. If it is on the bottom or the ball of your feet, especially if it is singular rather than diffused, it is also a problem. This indicates that there is abnormal pressure or friction over the boney area. This is usually a result of abnormal foot motion or alignment. This in turn can lead to pain from your feet, to your knees, hip and all the way up to your back.
Though calluses are formed to protect you, they don’t know when to stop. As long as the pressure or friction continues, the skin will continue to thicken. This thickening can eventually lead to serious problems such as dry cracking skin, infection, ulcerations, and pain.
If your skin on the bottom of your feet is just thick, it usually is not a problem. However, if you have a singular callus or develop one and never had it before, something is wrong.
To help maintain healthy skin, the callous can be sanded down by a professional, especially if you have any circulation or nerve problems such as someone with diabetes. Apply a moisturizer daily as needed. Because there usually is plenty of moisture between your toes, refrain from applying moisturizer between your toes to avoid other problems such as fungal infection, etc. Avoid soaking your feet as this can wash off the natural skin oils, leading to dryer skin. Understand that using “Corn Away” or any product that removes corns can lead to the acid eating a hole in your skin. The only way to make a callus go away for good is to eliminate the cause.
Contact ArchMasters–Orthotics, Shoes & Footcare, llc. at (615) 370-3000 and ask to speak with podiatrist, Dr. David Sables. We offer complimentary foot consultations and can check if your callus is a problem or not. Our trained staff can also recommend a number of different foot care products to manage your current calluses and prevent new calluses from forming.