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Calluses

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 28 Jan 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Calluses; Thickened Tissue; Hardened

The term callus is given to an area of hardened skin that has become toughened over time due to repeated friction and pressure to the area. These areas are usually found on the toes, feet and sometimes hands. They are not serious or particularly detrimental to overall health but can cause significant discomfort to the person, or if left untreated can carry the possibility of leading to an infection developing.

Why do Calluses form?

The usual cause of a callus forming is due to constant pressure to the area or from continual rubbing and friction. When a callus develops on the foot it is usually because of ill-fitting shoes, or if found on the sole of the foot, because of spending too much time doing lots of physical activity such as long distance running, hiking or even dancing barefoot.

Sometimes socks can be blamed for calluses, as the seams may rub or become trapped between the toes beginning the process of areas of friction and redness occurring.Very rarely a callus may be a side effect of another illness such as syphilis or because of a reaction to some substances that can cause the tissues to thicken and harden.

Signs and Symptoms

Calluses often begin with a reddened area that is painful, usually from shoes that rub. If the same shoes are worn continually, a callus can grow. In their early stages of development, they may feel as though they are burning or throbbing, but as it ages and grows, it often becomes less acutely painful, but the increase in size can lead to the wearing of many different types of shoes uncomfortable.Calluses vary in size and shape from person to person and can be yellow, white or even greyish in colour.

Treatment for Calluses

Many people find that moisturising creams that aim to soften the tissue, along with a gentle exfoliating device such as a pumice stone, are enough to keep their calluses at bay and can help reduce them if they grow too large.Softening the area in warm water before exfoliation will help to soften the skin and allow for easier removal of the tissue.Most chemists and supermarkets stock a selection of cushioning plasters that can be worn over the affected area to prevent further friction from causing pain or worsening the callus.

If these options do not improve the callus, it may need treatment from a professional. An appointment with a qualified chiropodist will allow for assessment of the calluses so that appropriate treatment can be sought. It may be that the area needs shaving, which must never be attempted at home as specialist and sterile equipment should be used to prevent trauma or infection.If infection does occur, seek advice from your GP as anti-biotics may be needed.

Preventing Calluses

The easiest way to prevent a callus is to ensure that comfortable footwear is chosen, good quality leather is recommended, shoes that can expand as the feet get hot and swell such as those with laces or Velcro fastenings and by choosing cotton socks that fit correctly and are soft and flexible with movement.Always choose trainers or sports shoes that are appropriate to the activity and ensure that they fit correctly.

Although they are not serious, calluses can cause a lot of discomfort for the sufferer and can be very unsightly. They can be treated very easily and in most cases will not cause long-term problems for the person.

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I've developed what I think is the same type of "verruca"--I think that's the term-- I had years ago--a callous beneath which was a white rice-grain like gristly core.I isolated the core with sterilized manicure sissors, grasped it with a pair of pliers, gritted my teeth and pulled. This left only a small cavity the size of the removed "grain."I don't want to have to do this again but all the podiatrist would do at the time was to pare away the callous which surrounded the grain and the callous simply regrew in a week or so requiring a series of returns to the podiatrist, and, finally,I had to act on my own.Can you recommend a better procedure?
Duane - 28-Jan-14 @ 12:53 AM
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