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The Ultimate Guide to Managing and Treating Foot Calluses

May 01, 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Managing and Treating Foot Calluses

Running and foot calluses go hand in hand. In fact, if you log in serious
miles every week and have zero calluses, consider yourself one of the lucky

Here’s the truth. Excessively large calluses aren’t just a problem of
appearance, but can also cause discomfort during exercise, especially when
running. They’re also pretty common among athletes from all training

In today’s post, we’ll go through what causes this skin build-up while
running, how to prevent calluses, and how to treat them.

Sounds great? Let’s get started.

The Definition

Also known as a corn, a callus is hardened skin that occurs in friction-prone
areas, such as the bottom of the foot, or over bony projections.

Often painless, calluses are your skin’s natural protective reaction of
pressure sites. The affected skin may start getting dry, flaky, and harder
than the rest of your skin.

For most runners, this hardened mass of skin tends to build up in the heel,
likely from the edge of the shoe rubbing repeatedly against the back of the

What’s more? If you run in improper shoes, you might develop a callus along the outside of your big toe. Here’s the good news. There are many things you can do to lower your risk of developing calluses during running. Here are a few.

The Symptoms

It’s easy to tell that you have a callus. Usually, the skin of a plantar callus is
yellowish or gray. It may also feel flaky, tough, and dry. The skin may be
tender when direct pressure is applied to the region.

Not a Bad Thing

Getting a callus as a runner isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s actually a
benefit of having calluses when pounding the pavement.
This hardened skin buildup in areas prone to friction and rubbing against
your shoes protect you from forming blisters.

In essence, calluses protect your feet against blisters and sores while
running. Although calluses your our body’s natural reaction for protecting the skin,
like all good things in life, too much of a good thing can do you more harm
than good.

The Prevention

Here are a few simple measures to help you prevent and manage painful

Proper Running Shoes

Running in improper shoes can be a real problem for your feet, likely
resulting in numbness, blisters, and calluses. This is especially the case if
your shoes are too narrow and tight in the forefoot, causing pinched-nerve
pain and calluses.

If you’re prone to calluses, make sure your running shoes suit your feet and
running style. They should be wide enough across the front, so there little
no friction or pinching.

Good Socks

Proper running socks are also key. Go for sports socks made from polyester-cotton blend. Technical materials help reduce moisture better than regular cotton socks. High-performance socks are often designed with extra cushion in callus prone areas.

What’s more? You can also reduce friction when running by wearing thicker socks that have extra padding in high-friction areas.

Reduce Friction

As previously stated, friction lies at the heart of the problem. Anything you
can do to reduce it is surely welcomed. Use a foot ointment that can help reduce friction while running, thus preventing calluses.

You can also prevent calluses by putting a barrier between where the shoe is
rubbing and your skin. Place the bandage inside of your running shoes
where the shoes rub against your foot.

Treating Calluses For Runners

If your calluses are painful, you should take some measures to ease the
pain. Here’s how to treat running-induced calluses by yourself.

First, start by soaking your feet in soapy, warm water for 5 to 10 minutes.
This helps soften the skin.

Next, get a pumice stone or a callus shaver get it wet, then gently shave the dead skin, and the callus using circular or sideways motions with the pumice stone for two to three minutes.

Stay safe, do not take too much skin off or else, you’ll wound your foot.
Repeat this process many times per week or as needed.

Apply moisturizing cream following the scrub sessions to keep the area

When to See A Doctor

Although most cases of callus do not require medical attention, you need to
have it looked at by your doctor or podiatrist. The following scenario
deserves attention from a healthcare professional.

  • The callus is red, dry, and cracking. This may indicate chronic athlete foot.
  • The callus is chronic and recurring. Your sports-oriented physician may help you figure out why your calluses keep returning.
  • If you notice that your callus is warm to the touch, red, or particularly painful, seek medical attention. These red flags could signal an infection.
  • The callus is thick and painful. It should be treated by a sports-oriented physician.
  • The callus has clear fluid or pus discharge. This could indicate thatthe callus might be infected or ulcerated, thereby, requires medical attention.
  • If you have heart problems, diabetes, or circulatory problems, sufferingfrom any of these conditions makes it more likely for you to develop aninfection. If you have any of these conditions, check your feet for damage regularly.

About the author:
David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.