Here are the answers to the top 10 most common questions about calluses

Calluses are areas of thickened, rough skin that result when the skin is exposed to excessive rubbing, friction or pressure. Calluses are rarely serious but they can be unsightly and, at times, tender or painful. Calluses can often be easily treated at home with proper care.
Calluses are most often seen on the hands and feet. Any repeated motion, pressure or friction on the skin can cause a callus. For example, writing, playing the guitar, and wearing shoes and sandals are common causes of callus formations. Additionally, certain repeated activities and jobs can cause calluses such as marathon running and performing maintenance.
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1. What are calluses?
A callus is composed of layers of thick, hardened skin that form as a protective barrier from excessive pressure, rubbing,or friction. A callus is essentially a defense mechanism for the skin.
2. What causes calluses?
Calluses are most commonly caused by friction, but there are many forms of friction. For example, wearing too loose or tight-fitting shoes can also produce calluses. The same principal applies to gloves: If gloves fit improperly, they can cause more rubbing in areas previously not exposed to friction.
3. What are the symptoms of a callus?
Symptoms of a callus are any area of the skin that may feel waxy, thick, raised, hard, bumpy or rough. Calluses typically appear as a mound of dry, flaky or waxy skin that can vary in size depending on the source of friction. Most of the time calluses are not painful, but it is not uncommon to have tenderness at the site of one, especially when pressure is applied.
4. What are the risk factors for callus formation?
Bunions, hammertoes, corns and other foot-related issues such as bone spurs or plantar fasciitis can also cause callus formations. Calluses form because of the changes in gait, changes in bone structure or pain that results from the primary foot issue. In these instances, shoe inserts may be helpful as well as consulting with a podiatrist for further options.
5. What is the treatment for calluses?
No treatment is necessary for a callus unless it is causing discomfort. By reducing or eliminating the source of friction, the callus should heal on its own. You can use moisturizing creams, oils and lotions, warm-water foot soaks, over the counter ointments and patches, a nail file or a pumice stone to help remove the excess skin of a callus.
6. How can I prevent calluses?
You can help prevent calluses by wearing properly fitting footwear and gloves, avoiding high-heeled shoes, wearing socks with shoes to reduce skin friction, keeping toenails trimmed, applying cornstarch to feet and between toes to wick away moisture, and applying bandages or moleskin (available at most drug stores) to areas prone to excessive pressure or rubbing.
7. When do I need to see a doctor for a callus?
If you are experiencing pain, inflammation, drainage, warmth or redness, consult a doctor for a treatment plan. It's important to not that if you have diabetes or any disorder that limits blood flow, healing or circulation, you should always consult with your doctor or podiatrist before implementing self-care techniques.
8. What will the doctor do if I do need to see one for a callus?
The doctor will assess the area and may choose to remove excess skin, apply an ointment to expedite skin removal or prescribe medication to help in the removal process.
9. Is there surgery involved if callus becomes too large?
Surgery is not required for large callus removal. Large calluses are treated the same as any other calluses. If surgery is required, it is typically for a bone malformation or bone spur that is causing pain, a change in gait and pressure points.
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10. What is the difference between a corn and a callus?
A callus is usually larger than a corn. A corn is smaller in diameter with a hardened center. A corn and the surrounding area is commonly inflamed and reddened. A corn is also typically more painful than a callus. By eliminating sources of friction and applying proper techniques, most calluses are harmless and heal quickly and completely without medical intervention.
Resources Mayo Clinic and MedlinePlus

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