Calluses are no fun, but did you know they actually serve a positive purpose? Calluses are the body's natural response to friction or irritation and they form to protect the skin underneath from further damage.
Even though they’re serving a functional purpose, nobody likes an area of thickened and hardened skin on their feet, especially during flip-flop or beach season or right before that vacation.
If we want to get rid of calluses we need to figure out what is causing some of the friction that is irritating the skin. Let’s look at some of the causes of calluses and how you can get rid of them.
Causes of Calluses
Calluses often form when skin rubs against shoes or other surfaces, or when the bones and joints in the feet are not properly aligned.
What can cause the skin to rub to the point where it feels like it needs to protect itself?
Ill-fitting Shoes: Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause friction and pressure on the feet, leading to calluses. This also includes over-use of footwear that doesn’t provide enough support or cushion.
Standing for long periods: People who stand for long periods of time, such as factory workers or retail employees, may develop calluses on their feet without the proper foot protection or shoes.
High arches or flat feet: People with high arches or flat feet may develop calluses because of the way they walk and the pressure they put on certain areas of the feet.
Medical conditions: Diabetes can cause calluses as a result of nerve damage and decreased circulation.
Misalignment: If your body is out of alignment and your feet are hitting the ground in areas they shouldn’t be, you’re going to experience friction or rubbing that could lead to calluses…especially if you stand or walk a lot.
How to Get Rid of Calluses
So, now that we know what causes calluses, we can figure out how to cure them or prevent them in the future.
Soaking the feet: If you already have calluses, soaking the feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes will not only feel really good, it can help soften the calluses, making them easier to remove.
Use a pumice stone: After soaking the feet, gently scrub the calluses with a pumice stone or a foot file to remove extra dead skin.
Moisturize: Your face isn’t the only thing that needs a good moisturizer. Applying a moisturizer to the feet can help keep the skin soft and prevent calluses from forming.
Wearing comfortable shoes that fit: Wearing the right shoes for your current activity and that fit well and provide adequate support can help prevent calluses from forming in the first place. Walk around the store to make sure shoes don’t rub before you buy them. But, if you get home and realize you need some extra support, try an Orange Insole to protect your feet if you stand or walk a lot. Don’t forget to replace your shoes on a regular basis as worn shoes can start to rub!
Use an Insole: An insole can not only provide support if your shoes aren’t cutting it, but they can also help you get back in alignment if things are out of whack. Starting at the feet is super important when it comes to keeping the body in alignment so try an insole to help your walking form and in turn not only prevent calluses but also help your whole body start to feel better!
Consult a doctor: If the calluses are severe or painful, or won’t go away, it's best to consult a podiatrist who can safely remove them. It’s also smart to see your doctor if you have an underlying disease that could be causing the calluses, like diabetes.
Break in New Shoes: New shoes are great but they are also the worst. Heading out and about in a pair of brand new shoes could cause rubbing in places your feet aren’t used to. Try breaking in your shoes around the house before you spend a lot of time in them.
So don’t let calluses, or the fear of them, slow you down or prevent you from doing what you love. Take proper precautions before activity or when you know you’ll be on your feet a lot, and if you get some calluses, treat yourself to a mini-spa day! It’s win-win!