DEFINITION: A callus is the body's way of protecting itself and toughening the skin at points of repeated rubbing or stress, resulting in a localized area of skin that thickens and hardens against consistent pressure. Sometimes resulting from blisters, calluses often occur on the sole of the foot or where the foot experiences repeated friction.
SYMPTOMS: A callus may be tough to the touch with hard, dry or flaking skin. In some cases, calluses become discolored with patches of yellow or white skin.
CAUSES: Calluses may develop as a result of ill-fitting shoes, improper gait or overly strenuous activity. Individuals should ensure that footwear provides proper integrity, cushioning and support for the foot. Calluses may also be caused by improper walking alignment (such as overpronation, where the foot rolls inward with each step, or oversupination, where the foot rolls outward with each step); and sudden increases in strenuous physical activity.
TREATMENTS: Generally, calluses are minor injuries that reduce and disappear when the source of friction is removed. Calluses are most often reduced by providing proper alignment, cushioning and support. Shoe inserts, heel wedges or heel cups may help in alleviating pressure and reducing friction at the point of contact. If a callus becomes infected, a physician may need to remove the infected tissue from the area.