What Causes Calluses on Feet? Pictures, How to Prevent & Treat


Calluses on feet are likely to occur in us at some time despite taking good care of our feet. Get to know what causes calluses on feet, how to treat calluses on feet, how to soften calluses and the features of calluses on bottom of feet.

What Causes Calluses on Feet?

Calluses on the feet
Calluses on the feet

The most common places that the foot experiences constant pressure and friction are the ball of the foot, the heels and around the metatarsal bones. This is where calluses are most common. While they do not pose any major health concern, calluses that are left untreated continue to grow and may lead to additional problems. Nucleated skin lesions may develop making it hard to walk and stand. At times, wearing shoes also becomes a problem. This being the case, what causes calluses on feet?

The cause for excessive pressure on specific areas of the foot depends on a person’s lifestyle. For some people, calluses could be work related or sports related. It could also be as a result of wrong choice of footwear. Below are some specific explanations on what causes calluses on feet and how.

  • Ill fitted shoes: When one makes a footwear choice that is improper, calluses are likely to develop. Shoes that are too small and thus tight fitting or narrow toed exert undue pressure on the feet. Wearing loose socks also causes friction.
  • Obesity: A person’s height and weight should meet the required standards. When a person becomes overweight, the feet suffer the burden of bearing more weight than they should support. The constant pressure that results leads to calluses.
  • Abnormalities in the gait cycle: Where a person suffers from inconsistent walking motion, it is possible for there to be friction and pressure on the feet which will result in calluses.
  • Feet abnormality: This includes feet having features such as flat feet, bone prominence, high arched feet and an absence of the fat pad from the feet. A flat foot has a low arch causing instability. All these increase the risks of getting calluses.
  • Walking barefoot: People with a tendency to walk without shoes whether inside the house or when outdoors develop hardened skin.

How to Treat Calluses on Feet

Getting rid of a callus generally means adopting ways on how to treat calluses on feet. This can be done both at home and by the doctor. A podiatrist is the best person to consult in case the callus is severe. They will use a scalpel to shave it off carefully without hurting the patient.

For less serious cases, one can try the following non-surgical methods on how to treat calluses on feet. These include:

  • Wearing shock absorbing materials to help distribute pressure on feet evenly.
  • Using both medicated and non-medicated pads to get rid of and relieve pressure from the callus respectively.
  • Changing any foot wear suspected to be contributing to the formation of calluses.
  • Avoiding walking bare foot even at home
  • Soaking the feet in some warm water to soften up the calluses and then filing them off.

How to Prevent Calluses on Feet

To take care of calluses on the bottom of feet, one can take preventive measures. Follow the following simple tips on how to prevent calluses on feet.

What causes calluses on feet Ill fitting shoes
What causes calluses on feet Ill fitting shoes
  • Avoid wearing high heels especially when you are about to spend your time walking or standing.
  • When choosing shoes, get some that have a good arch and those with shock absorbing soles. A rubber soled one would be great.
  • Invest in an insole to help absorb and distribute weight all over the foot. The same can be achieved by using non-medicated foot pads.
  • Apply a moisturizer on feet regularly to keep skin soft and supple.
  • Use a moleskin where the foot tends to form calluses

Pictures of Calluses on Feet

Don’t know what calluses on the feet look like? The pictures of calluses on feet in this post will help identify just how a callus looks like, and you will be able to distinguish it from other foot health problems such as dry feet and foot corns.

Calluses on problem areas of feet
Calluses on problem areas of feet

Calluses on Bottom of Feet

When the feet are subjected to excessive pressure for a prolonged period of time, the skin thickens. This is caused by the non-stop friction that results. Formation of the thick skin which is a combination of dead skin cells occurs as a defense mechanism adopted by the body to protect the skin from damage and injury. This is what forms calluses on bottom of feet.

These are evidenced by hard growths normally developing on the ball of the feet. They may be a little uncomfortable upon bearing weight such as when standing or walking but one gets relieved after taking a rest. The same discomfort is felt when one wears high heels or thin soled shoes. Calluses are more common in women than in men.

The causes for calluses on bottom of feet include:

  • Mal-alignment of metatarsal bones
  • Flat feet
  • A diminished fat pad on the bottom of feet.
  • Having Achilles tendons that are short
  • Bone prominence

How to Soften Calluses on Feet .

In trying to apply various methods on how to soften calluses on feet, it is important to first point out the risk factors leading to callus formation and avoid them as well. After this, embark on the following practices to help soften up the calluses:

  • Engage in a long soak as it has the ability to soften calluses. Add either chamomile tea, essential oils or Epsom salts to water in a tub. Stay in for around 20 minutes to soften up the calluses. Apply an intensive moisturizer after this to retain the suppleness.
  • Apply lanolin or petroleum jelly on the calluses.
  • Make a lemon juice and aspirin paste and apply them on the callus. Wrap the area up with a damp towel for 10 minutes. Rinse this off after you are done. For even deeper moisturizing, do this before going to sleep and follow it up with a moisturizer. Sleep in socks overnight to keep the moisture locked in.

Calluses on Feet Hurt

At times, calluses on feet hurt. This could be caused by exceedingly harsh pressure exertion or excessive pressure being experienced on a specific part for a long time. To avoid the calluses from getting there:

  • Avoid wearing shoes that are either too loose or too tight. Wear some that are well padded, those with open toes or one with a wide enough toe box.
  • Wear well-fitting thick socks. These will help absorb pressure. Avoid tight stockings and socks as they could worsen the situation.
  • To decrease pressure, purchase some dough-nut shaped foot pads that fit around the callus.