Calluses are thick patches of hard and dead skin. These are often dry and flaky on the foot and may be painful in the long run. It can be formed on any part of the body, which is exposed, due to repeated pressure and friction. It is also known as hyperkeratosis. It mainly forms at the bottom of the feet, either on the heel or the area where the long inner bones of the toes extend into the foot (also called the five metatarsal heads). Initially, they grow to protect the skin as there is immense pressure on this area of the foot. However, these calluses keep on growing and getting thick. This results in a greater pressure being against the skin, and it becomes a painful experience and no more serves the purpose of protection. Though there are several preventive measures and remedies, certain cases may require a surgery.
Why Do Calluses Occur?
- One major reason is constant friction, irritation, and pressure.
- Another reason is the abnormal anatomy of the feet. For example, hammer toe and other toe deformities.
- Abnormalities in gait (how a person walks) or movement that can put pressure on certain areas of the skin.
- Wear proper fitting and comfortable footwear so that the feet are able to breathe freely.
- Use a foot file or pumice stone to scrape the dead skin.
- Apply a good foot care cream, moisturizer, and lotion.
- Soak your feet in warm water and use callus removers, OTC pills, lotions, etc., to treat this condition at the primary level.
• In case the condition of the calluses is not very severe, the doctor advises the usage of good sole support, formulated pads, creams, etc.
• However, in severe cases, surgical removal is advised. A foot specialist or podiatrist is the one who executes the surgery.
• People often think that surgical removal helps in completely eradicating the problem. However, this is possible only in the case of porokeratosis (where the lesions are not formed due to a bony prominence).
• In some severe cases, the podiatrist may use a sterile surgical blade to remove the outer layers of the thickened skin.
Other cases for surgery
☛ Plantar Callus: In this, one metatarsal bone is longer or lower than the other metatarsal bones, which put pressure on the skin, resulting in the formation of a callus.
☛ This bone can be cut and aligned with the other metatarsal bones. A part of the metatarsal bone or the entire affected bone may be cut.
☛ Screws or pins may be used to hold the position of the bone. In other cases, when the metatarsal bones are placed too high or too low, a surgery can be done to lift it to the correct height. This balances the pressure of the body. Recovery may take around 6 - 8 weeks.
☛ A burning sensation in the feet can be a symptom of callus developed due to the small bones in the feet or the straining of the metatarsals, hence the toes point downwards. Straightening of the toes in this case helps in providing some relief.
☛ Generally, surgical removal includes lifting of the bones, removal of the extra bones, removal or shaving of bone spurs or loose bone fragments, complete removal of the bone part which puts pressure, and correction of overall deformity.
☛ The healing period of these surgeries usually depends on the type of surgery performed. When performed well, these are successful in removing the callus. However, there is a risk of the pressure shifting to another bone and forming a callus again.
☛ The use of orthoses (externally applied devices used to modify the functional characteristics of the skeletal system) is suggested, after the surgery, to reduce the risk of callus formation.
The cost of the surgery depends on the affected area and type of surgery performed. Always consult a health expert for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Prevention is definitely better than cure, so a little extra care of your feet can help in keeping several problems at bay.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.