Hard calluses on your feet can be quite uncomfortable. If they bother you, what can you do to get rid of them? These thick layers of skin form because the skin aims to protect itself from friction or pressure. Calluses typically look like raised, hard bumps of skin that are flaky, dry, or even waxy.
If you play instruments, you can easily develop calluses on your fingertips. You can develop calluses on your hands if you do a lot of manual labor or if you lift weights. Calluses on your feet, especially your heels, result from wearing tight shoes, avoiding socks, or walking barefoot. The hardened skin actually protects that area from further damage, friction, or pressure, according to foot and ankle surgeons.
You may go your entire life without experiencing a painful callus. In fact, you should ignore them if they don’t bother you. If they start to hurt, or you simply don’t like how they make your feet look, the following tips can help you remove them.
File Away With A Pumice Stone
The rough, abrasive texture of a pumice stone can help shave away hardened skin. Most people agree that it is the most effective at-home callus remover. There are electric callus removers that essentially shave off dead skin, but a pumice stone is incredibly effective. Continue reading for a guide on how to use a pumice stone:
- Soak the affected area in warm water for about 10 minutes to help soften the skin. This step will make the callus removal process much easier.
- Using gentle, circular or sideways motions, rub the pumice stone on the callus until you remove the dead skin. Stop as soon as you reach a layer of skin that is soft and healthy. If you continue to file, you may end up irritating healthy skin.
- After filing away your callus, make sure to rinse and dry the area before applying a gentle moisturizer. This step will help keep your skin soft and supple.
Use An Over-the-Counter Moisturizer Or Callus Dissolver
If you prefer a gentler approach to filing with a pumice stone, use daily moisturizers to help soften callused skin. This may take a lot longer, but applying a daily moisturizer with smoothing ingredients like salicylic acid, ammonium lactate, or urea can help remove a callus over time. Urea creams can be great because they usually contain exfoliating ingredients, in addition to other moisturizing ingredients that soften irritated skin.
Should You See A Podiatrist?
A podiatrist, foot doctor, can use a scalpel or surgical blade to trim away the callus if you have difficulty removing the skin at home. This usually is not necessary, but this will depend on the severity and thickness of your callus. Have a podiatrist tend to your calluses if you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow. A minor cut can become infected very quickly! A doctor can remove the callus without damaging healthy skin, which ultimately helps you avoid other complications. If you notice that your callus is red, inflamed, or pus-filled, see a podiatrist immediately because your callus may be infected.
If you want to prevent calluses on your feet, there are things you can do once you remove your callus. You can wear a protective covering if you have a spot on your foot that is prone to friction. Felt pads, non-medicated corn pads, or even bandages can protect the area. Keep your toenails trimmed because long nails can push your toes up against your shoe, creating a potential callus over time. Lastly, wear comfortable shoes with socks, and consider getting shoes with a wide toe box so you can comfortably wiggle your toes. You may need custom orthotics from your podiatrist if shoes are an issue in general.