A callus is an area of hard, thickened skin that can occur across the ball of the foot, on the heel, or on the outer side of the big toe. Although many consider them a skin problem, they are indicative of a problem with the bone.
Calluses have painful nerves and bursal sacs (fluid-filled balloons that act as shock absorbers) beneath them, causing symptoms ranging from sharp, shooting pain to dull, aching soreness.
Calluses may be treated with over-the-counter callus removers, which use strong acids to peel this excess skin away after repeated application. Individuals with diabetes and poor circulation are not recommended to use this treatment. Alternatively, treat calluses as follows: Begin by soaking the foot or feet in warm soapy water and gently rubbing away any dead skin that loosens. Next, use a pumice stone or emery board to file away the thickened skin. Apply a good moisturizer to the hardened areas to keep them softer and relieve pain. Non-medicated corn pads or moleskin re available in stores and can relieve pain caused by calluses.
Calluses form from repeated friction and pressure, as the shoe (or ground) rubs against a bony prominence (bone spur) on the toe or foot. The skin thickens in response to this pressure. Small amounts of friction or pressure over long periods of time cause a corn or callus.