A callus is a thick portion of the skin usually present on the hands or feet. Calluses form due to constant friction and irritation when the skin rubs against a hard surface. A foot callus occurs when the skin repeatedly brushes against the ground or due to poor quality footwear which causes excess pressure on the foot. If the thickening of skin occurs on top of the foot, it is called a corn, whereas the thickening of skin on the sole of the feet forms a callus. Thus, corns and calluses are quite similar apart from their location.
Let us study some best home remedies and treatment options to eliminate calluses on the feet. Before we do so, here are some important facts you ought to know about calluses.
Causes of Calluses on Feet
As stated above, calluses are manly caused by rubbing or friction on the feet.
- Poor footwear is one of the most common causes of calluses.
- Wearing heels and stilettos can also cause tremendous pressure on the balls of the feet and give rise to calluses and corns.
- Deformities of the feet, such as being born with hammer toes can also lead to recurrent calluses.
Symptoms of Calluses
Corns and calluses both have a rough appearance. Callus have a raised, whitish appearance; the skin in the area turns rough and hard. Often, calluses are confused to be warts or verrucas.
Compared to corns, calluses are generally larger and thicker and are present on or near the balls of the feet as well as the heels or sides of the large toes. It is very important to wear shoes of the correct size in order to prevent calluses.
10 Easy ways to get rid of Calluses on the Feet
1. Soak the calluses in warm water
Soaking the calluses in warm water helps soften the skin of the callus. You can then use a pumice stone or a foot brush to scrub the dead skin layers away. Repeat this remedy every few days until the hardened skin is completely removed.
2. Change your footwear
This simple remedy may not help with your existing calluses but it can certainly prevent new ones. Correctly fitted shoes and fitted metatarsal bars can also prevent recurrent corns and calluses.
3. Get regular foot scrubs
Regularly scrub your feet with pumice stone treated with warm water and soap or using a foot scrub/pedicure file. These tools can remove layers of hardened skin and soften the callus considerably. You can also use an emery board for this purpose.
4. Use salicylic acid plasters
40% Salicylic acid plasters are readily available at drug stores. You need to cut a small piece of the plaster and cover up the callus with it (make sure you cut a slightly larger piece than the area covered by the thickened skin). Leave the plaster on the callus overnight. The next morning, remove the plaster then scrub the skin with a file or a pumice stone. This easy remedy will remove several layers of the hardened skin. Repeat this procedure 3-4 times a week until the callus falls off completely. However, patients with poor circulation or diabetes must not use 40% Salicylic acid plasters.
5. Treat them with essential Oils
Many aromatherapy essential oils like Tea Tree, Lavender, and Oregano can be used for softening the hardened callus. Apply undiluted tea tree oil all over the callus and cover it up with a piece of adhesive tape. Leave it overnight on the callus. The next day, soak your foot in a warm foot bath for 15 minutes. Follow this up with a thorough scrubbing of the callus. Repeat this remedy 3 times a week until the callus falls off.
6. Buy OTC callus removing products
Many over the counter callus removers like 12% Ammonium Lactate solution or carmal lotion can help soften calluses on the feet. Commercial corn and callus removers in the form of liquids are also available.
7. Use Onion slices
Onion and garlic juice has potent compounds to heal corns and calluses. You can cut some onion slices and press them on the callus. Tightly wrap a bandage around the slice so it is sticking to the callus. Let this remain for a few hours. When done regularly, this remedy can quickly heal a callus in 7 days.
8. Use Aspirin foot soak
Crush some Aspirin tablets and add them to a foot bath. Soak the feet in it. Aspirin contains natural salicylates that can remove hardened calluses. After 20 minutes, dry your feet and scrub the callus with a file. Repeat weekly.
9. Use Vinegar
Add a tablespoon of Vinegar to warm water and soak the feet in the mixture. Vinegar balances ph, kills germs and softens the skin. You can also add a tablespoon of baking soda to the mixture.
10. Use Lemon Juice
Squeeze half a lemon into the foot bath and soak in it for 20 minutes. The acidic action of lemon juice softens the skin and makes it easier to file off the callus.
Tips for Preventing Calluses
- Tight and uncomfortable footwear is usually responsible for calluses. So make sure you change it immediately. Get your feet measured and then buy the shoes in correct size. Women must avoid heels which strain the balls of the feet.
- Use gel pad inserts inside the footwear to prevent friction. A podiatrist can recommend where to apply the inserts to prevent friction and rubbing.
- Wear socks inside shoes as far as possible.
- Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces for prolonged periods.
When should you see A Doctor?
If your calluses are hurting or occurring repeatedly, then it is time to see a podiatrist. Recurrent calluses and corns could indicate an underlying health issue, weakened immunity or other serious health problems. Also, if the above remedies do not ease the pain, your doctor might suggest cortisone injections in the feet or the toes for relief.
Surgical/Conventional Treatment Options for Calluses on Feet
Mild calluses on the feet can be addressed with gel inserts and change of footwear. However, if the callus grows significantly, it can lower the quality of life. In such a case, your podiatrist may recommend cutting the callus to decrease its size. S/he will use a surgical blade to trim away the hardened skin. This is an in-office painless procedure as the skin is already dead.
Corns and calluses are not serious but they can be painful and unsightly. In people with diabetes or circulation problems, calluses can lead to some serious foot issues. If you are suffering from calluses pain, use the above remedies to get rid of them overnight.