Have you noticed the soles of your feet covered with hard, flat, thick patches of tough, dead skin? Those are called calluses, and while they usually aren’t painful in and of themselves, they can create other problems. Large calluses might make your shoes tighter, place extra pressure on healthy surrounding skin and tissue, and create painful friction (or even blisters) when rubbing against the inside of your footwear.
The good news is that, for healthy individuals, calluses are usually not dangerous and can be gently thinned at home using a tool called a pumice stone. However, it’s important to do this safely—improper callus thinning or cutting can cause bleeding, and potentially even an infection.
To smooth your callus, follow these instructions once per day as necessary:
- Start with a relaxing foot soak in warm, soapy water for about five minutes or so. This softens the skin (and feels good, too).
- Get the pumice stone wet.
- Gently rub the pumice stone on your callus with, at most, medium pressure for about 2 minutes. You’re not trying to eliminate the whole callus, but just remove a layer or two of dead skin.
- Rinse the pumice stone thoroughly after use.
- Dry your skin thoroughly, then apply a moisturizing oil or cream.
To stay safe and avoid complications, take the following precautions:
- If you have any condition that affects circulation or nerve function in the feet, such as diabetes, neuropathy, or PAD, please do not attempt to smooth your calluses before first consulting us.
- Don’t remove too much skin, and never cut into your callus with a blade or sharp object. Each can lead to dangerous bleeding.
- Don’t share your pumice stone with anyone else. It can transmit infection agents that could lead to conditions such as athlete’s foot or fungal toenails.
- To sterilize your pumice stone, drop it in a pot of boiling water for about five minutes to eliminate any resident bacteria. If you use your stone every day, you might consider boiling it every two weeks or so.
In time, your callus will start looking—and feeling—a lot better!
If you have any potentially complicating conditions, or have any further concerns about the health of your , please come out to see us in either Chandler or Gilbert, AZ. You can make an appointment with any of our Advanced Foot & Ankle doctors by calling (480) 963-9000.