What is Callus?
Callus is a thickening and/or hardening of the skin which can cause pain and discomfort if left untreated. Callus build up can be particularly dangerous in patients with poor circulation or diabetic neuropathy as the combination of excessive pressures and lack of sensation can lead to the formation of ulcers, which if left untreated can cause infection.
What is the cause of callus?
Callus is caused by an uneven distribution of weight and abnormal loading across the foot placing affected areas under increased pressure and subjecting them to excessive shear forces. As a protective measure thickened areas of skin will develop in order to protect the underlying structures from injury. There are a number of contributing factors which can lead to the build-up of callus including;
- Inappropriate or poorly fitting footwear
- Increased or excessive walking or running
- Increased pressures over bony prominences/deformities of the foot
How is callus treated in podiatry?
The aim of callus treatment in podiatry is to remove the excessive pressure that is causing the build-up, reduce the level of pain and discomfort and improve the appearance and function of the skin.
Prior to carrying out any treatment a podiatrist will carry out a full assessment of the patient to determine the cause of the callus.
Treatment will often begin with the painless debridement of any callus using a scalpel blade. Further treatment may include;
- Footwear advice and education
- Padding techniques to reduce or redistribute pressures
- Orthotic intervention to relieve any excessive plantar (sole of the foot) pressures
- Surgical correction of bony abnormalities
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