Calluses can form anywhere on the body. They're how the body protects the skin when it's continually subjected to rubbing or friction. Most commonly, calluses form on the feet and hands to protect the skin from pressure and rubbing. You can usually prevent calluses on your handsby wearing gloves during work. Foot calluses seem to be the most common problem and tend to affect more women than men, thanks to tight or poorly fitting shoes.
Generally, calluses aren't harmful even if they aren't attractive. However, sometimes they can peel, crack and bleed. In some cases this can even lead to infection. The best way to prevent these conditions is to keep the calluses from forming to begin with.
How to prevent calluses
The most important thing you can do to prevent calluses is to wear shoes that fit correctly.
1. Measure your feet
The simplest way to prevent calluses is to wear the right footwear, but sometimes this isn't as easy as it sounds. This isn't the time to go to a big box store. Go to an actual shoe store and have your feet measured correctly. Make sure both feet are measured because they're not likely to be the same. Then choose shoes that fit those measurements for both width and length.
2. Shop at the end of the day
To get properly fitting shoes, you should buy them at the end of the day when your feet are more swollen. This will ensure that they don't get tight and uncomfortable as the day wears on, preventing the rubbing and pinching that cause calluses to form.
3. Avoid extreme shoe styles
Shoes that are pointy or very high cause pressure points on your feet. These pressure points will turn into calluses over time. You may be safe if the more extreme style is for a short, one-time event. But for everyday wear, these styles are a poor choice.
4. Keep shoes in good repair
Over time, the heels and soles of your shoes will become worn down. This reduces the protection that the shoes provide for your feet, which can result in calluses forming to create that protection. You can replace worn heels and soles, but also pay attention to how they wear. Uneven wear could indicate a need for corrective insoles, so talk to your podiatrist if you notice this problem.
5. Consider corrective footwear
If you have foot issues like bunions or hammer toe, you may need special footwear to allow enough room for your feet. Discuss this with your podiatrist.
Proper foot care to prevent calluses
Pampering your feet isn't just a luxury! It may contribute to more healthy feet.
6. Trim your toenails
When your nails get too long, they press against the toe of your shoes. This will make your toes unnaturally bent, causing discomfort and creating an atmosphere for calluses to form.
Once a week, or more if needed, soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes. Then use a pumice stone to gently rub away areas where calluses are forming.
Choose a rich moisture cream or one with salicylic acid to soften rough spots that may be developing. A good routine is to apply moisture cream before bed and wear a pair of light, soft socks to allow the cream to soak into your feet overnight.
9. Use padding
If you have shoes that put pressure on areas of your foot, use a soft adhesive pad to protect the area from rubbing. You can find these pads at most drug stores.
10. Medicated patches
If your calluses are more stubborn, consider buying medicated patches. These patches contain salicylic acid to help dissolve the rough skin. Your podiatrist may also recommend a prescription for a stronger concentration.