Foot Calluses : Treatment

foot calluses

Foot calluses do not have to be treated all the time. there is a question whether treatment actually makes the problem worse because you are making the area susceptible to tenderness again.

In the cases of the pictures in the Calluses 101 most, if not all of them needed to be treated.

There are only 2 ways to treat foot callus

1. Professional Care of foot calluses

Now this means a Chiropodist/ Podiatrist. Only for the reason of that they should test you and examine you before they treat you. Why, well here is a case that we had [can be queezy]:

A patient who was completely neuropathic (they couldn't feel anything in their feet) went to a beauty spar to have their hard skin reduced. The staff reduced the hard skin with a "carrot scrapper" type tool and went to work. When the floor was full of blood, they still worked because the patient never said anything. He wouldn't because he was neuropathic to start with. When they realized that bits of muscles were on show they stopped. 2 weeks later the patient was in hospital with blood poisoning.

When the hard skin becomes excessive/ painful/ too much, then it is needed that you see a health professional. What they should do is the following:

1. Debride the area with a scalpel blade which doesn't hurt because the hard skin has no nerve. You get a better job done, its neater and you can find everything if there is a problem.

2. Figure out why you have the hard skin in the first place. Kinda easy and simple idea. but we know why it is there (pressure) so that pressure needs to be taken away with either:

1- Insoles. These are not orthotics, they are pressure redistribution insoles which gives the high pressure areas a bit of a break. Also they are useful for "adding fatty padding". When you have boney feet you have very little shock absorption, so these will add that for you.

2- Orthotics. Only needed if there is a biomechanical problem that is causing your hard skin or if there is one focal area where the hard skin is building up to problematic proportions. Check out our Orthotics 101 section here.

3- Shoes. Advice on shoe wear. Sometimes shoes cause all host of problems because they are not the right size, not fitted right, have seams which rub and a whole lot more. A good health professional will check them. Also to note is that slippers can cause calluses because they have very little of anything in them even thought they "feel nice and soft".

If the cause is not figured out then you will have the calluses for some time. They might not go entirely with the treatment given, but it will/ should slow down their growth.

2. careful Home Care

You can actually do something with your calluses at home. But with everything there are warnings to each of the treatments.

1. Use of a foot file. Most people will balk at this idea, but it is because they have done it wrong.

When your feet are nice and dry then use the file and then wash the file after each use to get the hard skin out from the grooves. Filing when wet does very little.

This will only work if your calluses have been reduced first or they are very mild.

Foot files are easy to find. Here is a sample:


The one above from PediFix  has 2 sides. One is a little bit more rougher than the other. It is easily washable and lasts. it also doesnt have wood or porous materials so all of the file can be washed. it can be found on Amazon or all other good retail stores.

2. Use moisturizing cream. If you use it on hard skin then it will soften up the hard skin but it will not reduce it. Creams with Urea have a mild callus reducing effect.

3. Style change. Foot wear and activities are usually what causes hard skin. make sure that you have the right foot wear for the right activity. If you wear high-heels a lot and you are getting hard skin build up on your balls of your foot, then reduce the heel or find a more cushioning shoe.

Not Very Good Treatment Methods...At All.

Corn Plasters. Ahh that old treatment method. Well for a start you do not have a corn, and secondly the "medicated" ones have an acid in them which will do more harm than good.

Fleecy Foam. Also called mole foam, it is a very thin sheet of soft material. Unfortunately this will do nothing to a pressure related problem because it tackles shear forces (ones that rub) rather than pressure forces.

Graters/ Blades . Too many patients have come to us to fix them up from a home related DIY self care. These can be dangerous for many reasons- you have to be agile, know when to stop, the callus is usually small and diffuse which large metal implements can't handle.

Sanding. This is only useful for dry hard skin that is very minimal and you keep on top of it on a regular basis. If you tried it on larger patches 1- it burns, 2- it's completely inefficient, 3- it will not take down the calluses effectively. Unfortunately many health professionals use this instead of a blade which is very bizarre, unless they are not allowed to use a blade?!

But that is all the treatments that are 1 effective and 2 been the most proven to work. If you are unsure then see a health professional.

If you didn't check it out before, see the intro to this here: Foot Callus 101

Footfile 101- Why, How to use and what footfiles are out there.

The medical information on the web site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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About Dominic Hough

Hi. I'm Dominic. I treat patients every day at a local clinic. I am a trained Chiropodist and I care about prevention. I designed the website to help readers understand treat and even prevent issues from happening to their feet.