At New England Foot and Ankle Specialists, patients frequently come to us complaining of discomfort from a callus. The problem is they often don’t come in soon enough. It may surprise you to know that a callus is not actually a skin issue, although the pain does often seem to be on the surface of the bottom of the foot, the heel or the outside of the big toe. A callus most often indicates a bone problem.
Appearance and Causes
A callus (known in the podiatric world as a hyperkeratosis) usually appears as a thick, hard patch of skin. Even though the cause of the callus may not be immediately apparent, it forms because a bone is protruding or a bone spur has formed and the repeated pressure and friction from walking and wearing shoes results in the skin build up. The bone issues may happen as a function of a deformity, such as a bunion or hammertoe or other mechanical issue, like flatfeet. Left untreated in the early stages, nerves become inflamed and bursa sacs fill up until the patient begins to feel pain ranging from a dull ache or soreness to a sharp, stabbing pain at the site of the callus.
The best time to come into our Reading office is when you first notice a callus forming. Our foot doctors, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. will take the time to examine your callus and get detailed information about when you first noticed it forming, your activities and any other elements of your medical history that will help track down why the callus is present.
Knowing what the reason for the callus is important in determining the correct treatment for you. The podiatrist will usually take a two-pronged approach to eliminating your callus: first, using padding, physical therapy or other means to correct the underlying problem. Then the callus itself can be gently and gradually removed. Properly applied, padding can help reduce pain and discomfort and keep further damage from occurring.
Contact one of our offices for an appointment if you notice a callus on your foot.