The formation of calluses is caused by an
accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of
the foot. This callus formation isthe body's defense mechanism to protect
the foot against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are normally
found on the ball-of-the-foot, the heel, and/or the inside of the big toe.
Some calluses have a deep seated core known
as a nucleation. This particular type of callus can be especially painful
to pressure. This condition is often referred to as Intractable Plantar
Calluses develop becuase of excessive
pressure at a specific area of the foot. Some common causes of callus
formation are high-heeled dress shoes, shoes that are too small, obesity,
abnormalities in the gait cycle (walking motion), flat feet, high arched
feet, bony prominences, and the loss of the fat pad on the bottom of the
Treatment and Prevention
Many people try to alleviate the pain
caused by calluses by cutting or trimming them with a razor blade or
knife. This is not the way to properly treat calluses. This is very
dangerous and can worsen the condition resulting in unnecessary injuries.
Diabetics especially should never try this type of treatment.
To relieve the excessive pressure that
leads to callus formation, weight should be redistributed equally with the
use of an orthotic. An effective orthotic transfers pressure away from the
"hot spots" or high pressured areas to allow the callus to heal. The
orthotic should be made with materials that absorb shock and shear
(friction) forces. Women should also steer away from wearing high-heeled
As always, surgery should be the very
last resort. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.