What Are Calluses?
Calluses are your body's response to friction or pressure against your skin. If your foot rubs inside your shoe, the affected area of skin thickens. If a bone is not in the normal position, skin caught between bone and shoe or bone and ground builds up. In either case, the outer layer of skin thickens to protect the foot from unusual pressure. In many cases, calluses look bad but are not harmful. However, more severe calluses may become infected, destroy healthy tissue, or affect foot movement.
Where Do Calluses Form?
A callus may spread across the ball of your foot. This type of callus is usually due to a problem with a metatarsal (the long bone at the base of a toe, near the ball of the foot). A pinch callus may grow along the outer edge of the heel or the big toe. Some calluses press up into the foot instead of spreading on the outside. A callus may form a central core or plug of tissue where pressure is greatest.
If your calluses are mild, reducing friction may help. Different shoes, moleskin patches, or soft pads may be all the treatment you need. Sometimes you can even use orthotics to reduce friction and pressure.