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Calluses – Are you thick skinned?

Callusus are your skin’s way of protecting itself against repeated friction or pressure. This can be obtained from wearing sandals, shoes with no cushioning, or shoes that do not fit well, or if you have certain foot problems and with age you may get more of them as the fat pads on your feet thin out. Though unsightly, calluses are usually not a problem. Ones that form on your hands if you play tennis, or on your fingers if you play a string instrument, can actually be helpful. But if a blister forms underneath or if calluses becomes too thick and crack, they can be painful. Calluses that develop a thick center are called corns and usually develop on toes, where they are particularly tender.

If you get hard calluses on your feet :
– Scrub them away: Use a pumic stone regularly after showering or soaking your feet in warm water. Follow up with a thick moisturizer.
– Wear properly fitting shoes: Use shoes inserts, especially if you have an underlying foot problem.
– Use a cream: Prescription creams and ointments containing urea or lactic acid, at 40 to 50% strength, are most effective. Called keratolytic agents, they chemically break down and soften the thick skin of the callus. Over the counter products often contain the same chemicals as prescription products, but at lower concentration, so they may be less effective or not effective at all. Those containing salicyclic acid may be harmful if not used correctly, so follow the label directions carefully.
– Beware of corn cutters: If you scrape too hard or use the file on wet skin, you can end up abrading healthy skin and risking infection. Use it cautiously or not at all if you have diabetes or circulatory problems.

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