Why do we develop calluses? The formation of callus is
a protective mechanism used by the skin to respond to external mechanical
irritation. Any area of skin can form callus, but the most common
locations for callus on the foot include the bottom of the
foot, the side of the foot or even between the toes. Regardless of location, the cause of the callus is going to be external
pressure that pushes against a boney prominence. The skin becomes irritated and
thickens in response to this mechanical irritation. This thickening of the
skin is what we call callus. What is the cause of this external
pressure can be due to the ground (affecting the bottom of the
foot), the shoe (affecting the sides or the top of the foot) or even and
adjacent toe (affecting between the toes).
By definition, the build up of protective skin on
the bottom of the foot is called a callus. If the same problem
occurs on the toes, it's called a corn. There's a host of different types
of calluses some of which are described in the nomenclature section of this page
The most common spot for callus is on the ball of the foot just
behind each of the five toes. The ball of the foot is actually
anatomically analogous to the area of the palm of the hand where we tend to form
callus. Both of these areas are load bearing surfaces and areas of bony
common area of callus on the foot is on the rim of the heel. Heel callus,
or what are often called
heel fissures are a unique form of callus that form from tension placed upon
the rim of the heel.
The presence of a callus does not necessarily indicate that
there's a foot problem. Most calluses do not require the care of a doctor
and can be treated at home with
topical medicated callus creams and
Heel fissure - thick cracked heels. Often found in folks who are over
HD - see heloma dura.
Hellom dura - hard corn. Typically used to describe corns of the top
of the toes.
HM - see heloma molle.
Helloma molle - soft corn found between the toes.
Intractable plantar keratoma - a callus that has a distinct plantar core in
the center of the callus
IPK - see intractable plantar keratoma.
Kissing corn - see heloma molle.
Lister corn - small corn found on the inner or outer margins of the 5th toe
Pinch callus - a callus of the plantar medial great toe joint or great toe.
Spin Callus - see pinch callus.
Shear Callus - callus formed by friction. Shear calluses are typically
longitudinal and deep with multiple recesses.
- a thick broad callus found on the bottom of the forefoot.
No information is available for this topic
Many calluses are the result of a unique pattern of wear specific
to the way we walk. A spin callus, also called a pinch callus, is an example of a
unique gait pattern due to a limited range of motion at the 1st metatarsal
phalangeal joint (big toe joint). As we push off with each step, a limited
range of motion at the 1st mpj forces us to spin on the plantar medial surface
of the great toe. When watched from behind, a person with a pinch callus will
have a twist or pivot as they 'toe off'.
Most calluses have to a degree some
biomechanical origin. Your podiatrist or pedorthists should be able to
explain many different biomechanical factors that can contribute to the
formation of callus.
Not all calluses are painful. But as a callus
thickens, we tend to see increased pain due to pressure applied to the soft
tissue beneath the callus. Thinning the callus by debridement with a
callus file and
will often control painful calluses.
Callus pads can be used to decrease load applied to the callus.
In severe cases, callus can lead to an ulceration of the soft tissue beneath the
callus. This is particularly common in patient who have lost sensation in
their feet due to diabetes. If you have diabetes, neuropathy or poor
circulation, be sure to consult your podiatrist for periodic callus care.
Callus is a condition that can vary
in both location and appearance. The differential diagnosis for this
condition should include;
Benign soft tissue tumor including a glomus tumor, porokeratosis or eccrine
Malignant soft tissue tumor including malignant melanoma and Kaposi's sarcoma.
Products Recommended for Callus:
This article was written by Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM and last updated 2/5/13.
No additional information is available for this topic.
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