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The formation of calluses is caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot. This callus formation is the body's defense mechanism to protect the foot against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are normally found on the ball-of-the-foot, the heel, and/or the inside of the big toe.


  • Thick and hardened skin
  • May be flaky and dry
  • Located on feet, or other areas that may be rubbed or pressured


Calluses develop because of excessive pressure at a specific area of the foot. Some common causes of callus formation are high-heeled dress shoes, shoes that are too small, obesity, abnormalities in the gait cycle (walking motion), flat feet, high arched feet, bony prominences, and the loss of the fat pad on the bottom of the foot.


Calluses can usually be prevented by avoiding friction-causing activities and wearing shoes that fit properly, are activity-appropriate, and are kept in good repair. Soles and heels that wear unevenly may indicate a need for corrective footwear or special insoles. Socks and stockings should not cramp the toes. Women should also steer away from wearing high-heeled shoes.


Usually, preventing friction and a change in shoe gear is the first treatment needed. Calluses do not usually require medical attention, unless the person who has them has:

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • Poor circulation

  • Other problems that make self-care difficult.

Treatment should begin as soon as an abnormality appears. The first step is to identify and eliminate the source of pressure. Placing moleskin or felt pads over calluses can relieve pressure. It is important to see a doctor if a callus persists.

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We hope these suggestions improve your health and make you more comfortable. However, if you have any concerns about our advice, if any symptom persists for an unreasonable amount of time or if your condition worsens after self-treatment, we encourage you to consult a medical professional for further assistance. Please note, people with diabetes and poor circulation should always consult a medical professional before performing any self-treatment.