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Dealing with calluses

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Calluses are hard and thickened areas of the skin that forms due to friction or pressure placed on the skin. They develop naturally to protect the skin under them, usually anywhere in the body where there is repeated friction such as the fingertips of a musician or palms of the mechanic.

They can also develop on the sides and top of the toes and balls of the feet. A callus that forms in the hands and feet is due to dry skin or excessive pressure on one area of the skin.

What are the indications of calluses

  • Hardened and thickened areas of the skin
    Dealing with calluses

    Soak the affected hands, feet or elbows in warm or hot water that can be tolerated for at least for 10 minutes to soften the skin.

  • Dry, scaly or flaky
  • Bump on the skin that is rounded or conical
  • Difficulty walking or performing activities due to pain


  • A condition that causes thickening of the skin or hyperkeratosis.
  • The thickening is a natural defense mechanism that will strengthen the skin against friction or excessive pressure.
  • Abnormal deformities of the feet such as hammertoe
  • Ill-fitting footwear such as too short or too tight
  • Abnormalities in movement that can result to increased pressure to areas of the skin.
  • Calluses in the fingers form due to a reaction of using tools or playing musical instruments such as the guitar.
  • Using work equipment that puts excessive pressure at a specific area of the skin.


  • Soak the affected hands, feet or elbows in warm or hot water that can be tolerated for at least for 10 minutes to soften the skin. Epsom salts can be added to the water for added benefits. After soaking, use a pumice stone or foot file to scrub the calluses for at least 5 minutes only. Avoid scrubbing too much skin to prevent further damage such as bleeding and infection. Rinse off the area with water. Pat dry and apply lotion that contains urea to retain moisture in the skin. Wear socks or gloves to keep the moisture when about to sleep at night. Repeat the process at the end of every week. Another alternative is applying moisturizing lotion that contains salicylic acid and ammonium lactate to gradually soften hard calluses.
  • After taking a bath or shower, reapply lotion on the calluses. It is recommended to use a thick lotion for best results.
  • Use padding on the calluses to prevent further irritation when performing activities. Use moleskin that is cut in 2 half-moon shapes and place it around the callus to prevent direct contact with the shoes.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly.
  • Keep the toenails regularly trimmed to prevent formation of calluses.


  • If suffering from diabetes, take extra care in dealing with the calluses to prevent sores and infection.
  • Avoid using water with chlorine and other chemicals to prevent drying out of the skin.
  • Avoid using an acidic-based callus remover to prevent further damage on the area.
  • If diabetic, avoid removing the calluses to prevent problems with circulation.
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