Repeated and too much friction leads to thickening of a particular area of your skin. Such toughened thick skin is referred to as callus. This article provides information regarding the same.
Calluses are thickened areas of skin formed as a result of excessive pressure or friction. They can develop on any part of the body; however, they are more common on feet. Calluses on foot are also recognized as foot corns; although they are slightly different from corns. A corn is usually conical or circular in shape and the hardening of skin is confined to local area only. Calluses are generally not concentrated in one place like circular corns. They are flattened thick skin over soles or on parts of fingers.
Calluses on feet or hands are actually part of body’s defense mechanism. Hence, the body’s inability to form them may lead to skin infections, blisters, bleeding tissues, etc. They are usually observed on soles, on the outer areas of the first and last fingers where your feet rub against the shoes, or between the fingers. Formation of thick and hard skin is medically known as hyperkeratosis. The body naturally tries to strengthen the area of skin which is rubbed several times during a day, and also tries to make the skin strong enough to bear the pressure and friction.
Tight footwear, abnormalities in gait or movement, etc., can lead to thickening of the foot skin. Activities like gardening with tools, writing with a pen or pencil, keeping the hand in a particular position while moving the mouse, playing musical instruments, rowing, sailing, weightlifting, playing with sticks (ice hockey), rock climbing, or constantly using work equipment that exert pressure at specific sites may lead to hyperkeratosis on hands and feet. Children are more prone to develop calluses, as their skin is more soft and delicate compared to the skin of the adults.
Callus shavers are available in markets. You can shave off the hard dry skin easily at home. However, if you soak your feet in warm water for at least ten minutes, the soft skin can be easily removed with the help of a shaver or by rubbing pumice stone. You may add some baking soda, soap, or 5 – 10 drops of tea tree oil to water before soaking your feet. You can remove the dead skin gently with the help of an exfoliating scrub or a foot file, by exerting slight pressure on the affected area. Though the technique is simple, it may take several days to remove the hard skin entirely. You are supposed to repeat the procedure every day. Apply moisturizer or petroleum jelly to the affected area. This will help keep the skin soft.
Though using the shaver is safe and painless, diabetics or people with blood circulation problems should take professional help. Diabetics should take extra care to protect their feet from infections. People who have a tendency to develop calluses should wear well-fitting shoes or orthopedic shoes. Those who use tools should wear gloves. Using soft insoles may prove beneficial in some cases.
Hand or feet calluses usually go away on their own; however, those which cause severe pain and discomfort may require prompt medical attention. Salicylic acid is generally used to dissolve the them. Improper foot care may lead to serious and unwanted infectious diseases. In extreme cases, they can also be removed surgically. You may consult a foot-health practitioner for removing the callus, if it does not subside on its own.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.