Calluses: When Skin Gets Harder
What is better for your body’s protection: thick or thin? Hard, dense material is difficult to penetrate and doesn’t wear down quickly. However, it isn’t always flexible and may not adjust well to your body’s needs. Your body’s main source of protection is your skin, and you need it to change, stretch, and move as much as you do. Hardened areas instead press against soft tissues and irritate the feet. This is the problem your lower limbs face with calluses.
Thick Skin Gone Wrong
Calluses are patches of thick, stiffened skin in weight-bearing areas of your feet, like your soles. They develop when some part of your foot is under high pressure or dealing with a lot of friction. The strain on your skin stimulates extra cell growth in an attempt to protect itself from damage. The thicker skin does help guard against developing blisters; on the other hand, the denser patches can actually add to the pressure your foot endures.
These patches are usually a grey or waxy color. The skin may be dry and flaky. Sometimes the dry area can split and even bleed. As the calluses press into the soft tissues of your foot, they can make wearing shoes uncomfortable. If you struggle with conditions that compromise the immune system, like diabetes, this skin build-up could also result in a variety of complications that put your feet at risk for infections or ulcers.
Restoring the Skin
Identifying calluses simply requires a quick evaluation. Our expert staff can look over your feet and determine what is affecting your skin. They may take the opportunity, though, to perform a variety of tests and request diagnostic images to identify what may be contributing to the problem. Preexisting conditions and poor footwear are among the most common culprits. With a clearer idea of the forces working on your lower limbs, we can help you determine the best ways to eliminate the build-up and prevent its reoccurrence.
You’ll need to have the hardened skin pared down to relieve the pressure on your feet. We can do this carefully in office with the appropriate tools. Don’t try to trim these on your own—a mistake can damage healthy skin and open your body to potential infections. We can also provide you with medication or substances to help soften hardened patches. Once the skin is smooth and flexible again, you can help maintain it with gentle pumice stone scrubs.
You will most likely need to adjust your footwear so that it cushions and protects your lower limbs better. Shoes that are too loose, worn out, or don’t support your feet correctly can create friction. Replace old shoes and consider investing in custom orthotics to pad your lower limbs. If you have a preexisting foot condition or illness like diabetes, prescription inserts are particularly important to help protect your feet and correct problems.
Calluses may start out as your body’s attempt to guard your skin from friction, but they can quickly become an issues themselves. You don’t have to put up with the discomfort, though. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle. We can help you restore your skin and keep your feet healthy. Call (248) 545-0100 or fill out our online contact form to reach our Berkley, MI, office.