What is Calluses?

Also called Callosity, a Callus is a piece of skin that has hardened due to repeated friction, contact, pressure or any irritation suffered by the area that becomes toughened. In humans, the condition commonly affects the feet because the source of irritation must be constant and often times the only thing on the human body that can facilitate this environment are shoes.

For friction that is excessively forceful or frequent, blisters are more likely to be formed. Generally, calluses are harmless causing only discomfort especially if the condition that fostered their development does not change (for example, continuing to wear the shoes that resulted in them). However, it is possible for them to lead to problems like infections and skin ulcerations. Often the term is paired with the word “Corn” because they tend to be yellow or of a yellowish color.

It is possible to develop calluses in the palms due to excessive use of instruments that squeeze or rub against them repeatedly. Persons in some professions are prone to calluses of the hands; musicians, athletes, chefs, cooks and persons who do excessive manual labor fall on that list. Calluses can appear anywhere on the body as long as the friction needed to thicken the skin is present.

Incorrect sizing of footwear as well as footwear made from hard material are the most common causes of calluses to the feet while tight or rough clothing can cause calluses on the body. Choosing the right footwear for daily activities and clothes that fit well and are not abrasive to the skin are key to avoiding these lesions.

Even when harmless, the condition can cause excruciating pain and discomfort. Also, ones daily life could be disrupted since difficulty walking or holding things may result from extreme cases. Besides pain, a burning sensation may be experienced.

Removing Calluses

To remove calluses, pare away the hardened layers (many people use razors), be careful when doing so since these can still bleed. It is recommended that calluses are soaked in warm water before paring to make the process easier and safer. Cuts to calluses can result in infections worsening both the condition and discomfort.

There are solutions made to soften or remove calluses that work to varying degrees (some do not work). Keratolytic Therapy can be used as well. These treatments thin the hardened skin and work best when applied both on and around the area. The outer layer then sheds as it loosens. Salicylic Acid is commonly used. As a home remedy, try 4 parts acetone with (up to) 15 parts collodion. Apply solution nightly and cover with an adhesive strip. Continue until callus disappears.

For a more organic approach, thoroughly wash then soak areas in warm water with 3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda. After 30 minutes the dead skin should be removed or dissolved. Areas should be dried completely. Apply cornstarch to the area to keep it uninfected as well as dry. Tape a piece of vinegar-soaked cloth around the area before bed. Any dead skin present in the morning can be removed with a pumice stone.