What Does Your Foot Callous Mean?

Footprint-Weltkarte (Photo credit: dekade)

It identifies not only your problems but also You Personally!
A century ago, it was unheard of to identify a person by their fingerprints. Fast forward about 50 years and it became a highly used and acceptable method of identification.
The same is beginning to happen with foot prints.  Footprints? Yes. Growing up watching The Lone Ranger and Tonto, I learned that American Indians tracked people identifying footprints. But now, with the help of computers, forensic foot printing identification has significantly evolved.
 It has long been known by biomechanical specialists that if you simply look at the bottom of the feet and identify pressure points or callouses, you can accurately determine how that foot is functioning during gait.  One can then predict if someone is going to have a problem.  The callous(s) and pressure points on your feet can be mapped to identify not only potential problems, but you.
With the computer age, the science of foot pressure mapping has evolved.  It is not only being used in criminal investigations but also security.  They now have security systems that can determine who you are when you walk down a hallway.  For example, when you walk into a building, the sensors in the floors can now determine your gait pattern with just a few steps.  If you were someone not allowed in, it would identify you as an intruder. Your walk can now get you busted…by floor sensors. They pick up and determine the timing, trajectory and symmetry of motion along with the pressure points on your feet.  This is relatively consistent with just a few steps.
The pressure points on your feet can cause a callous(s).  A corn is the same thing as a callous.  Both are thick skin.  The name is simply determining the location.  If it is on the top or side or tip of your toe, it is referred to as a corn.  If it is anywhere else, it is a callous.  The thickening of skin is in response to abnormal pressure or friction, usually over a boney prominence or spur.  It is your skins defense mechanism. 
If you have a callous, you have a problem.  Note, this should not be confused with simple overall thickened skin on the bottom of the feet, such as with someone who walks barefoot a lot.  But if the thick skin or callous is in a specific area, singular or mildly diffused, then you have a problem.   A problem with the alignment or function of your feet that can affect many areas of your body.
A callous in specific areas of your feet means specific things.  Just like the foot print identifier can identify you, the area of callous can identify a problem.  
For example:
  • A callous on the side of your big toe is a bad thing, it means your big toe joint is not properly working and it can result in degenerative arthritis in the joint, hallux limitus, hallux rigidus and pain.  It can also lead all the way up to low back pain.
  • A callous under the 2nd toe joint at the ball of the foot can mean your big toe joint is not functioning well, too.  This can lead to stress fractures, severe swelling and pain under the ball from a degeneration of the soft tissue and ligaments.  This can lead to “2nd MPJ” syndrome and deviation deformity of your 2nd toe alignment.
  • Bunions can form from abnormal foot alignment leading to pressure and sometimes callouses on your big or little toe joints at the balls of your feet.
  • A corn on the top of the toe is from the toe curling or contracting up.  This can usually be visually seen but sometimes the toes are straight and yet there is a corn.  When you swing your foot forward, the tendons in your feet abnormally contract the toe.  Any contracture of the toes can lead to abnormal pigmentation on your toes.  They can lead to arthritis and long term, permanent stiffness in the toes.


The location of a callous(s) on your feet will easily (to a trained biomechanist and/or a computer) identify the abnormal function of your feet.  Your gait or walk is determined by the function of your feet so you should pay attention and get the help your feet need.  It will help you prevent problems and pain. 
Visit ArchMasters-Orthotics, Shoes & Footcare, llc to get a complimentary consultation with Brentwood foot specialist and surgeon, Dr. David Sables.
ArchMasters, Nashville’s only shoe store with a doc in every shoebox.

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