Clomping around in uncomfortable shoes makes for a bad enough day. Having calluses on your feet as well, can mean an even worse day! Calluses are hard skin formations that can quickly develop on areas of the body where constant rubbing against clothing, work equipment or shoes creates a hive of skin cell reproduction activity. These cells build up over time, and we’re talking only days here, and form hard often flaky bulges of skin mass.
Calluses (on the feet also known as “corns”) commonly appear on the hands, elbows, knees and feet. Those who lay carpets might well have callused knees, and calluses can form from the most innocuous of activities – knitting for example causes them to appear on the fingers.
Bring Out The Cheese-grater!
So what can be done to rid ourselves of these harmless but unsightly skin growths? Well there are fortunately many successful solutions. The most common is an abrasive method, akin to sanding down a piece of wood to remove an unsightly bump. Abrasive implements to remove calluses come in varying shapes and sizes, the favorite being a kind of egg shaped implement with what looks like a cheese grater on the side. This ergonomic device remove a calluses fairly quickly, the only caveat being that if you rub to hard, a sore area can develop and cause an infection or just a painful area for a few days. Some good advice when using abraders is to use them after having a hot bath or shower. The skin that makes up a callus can be removed more gently and when the dead skin has been removed, it is more evident, saving the user “digging too deep” with the tool.
To remove calluses in more sensitive areas, a little more ingenuity is required. Scraping a callus off your knee with a device that resembles a cheese grater is going to be a little painful at best. To address these areas of the skin such as on the knuckles, elbows, and knees, where the skin is very thin and delicate, a topical cream to soften the area and a much less abrasive approach to excess skin removal can be achieved with pads that have a similar surface to a pan scourer, but are much more gentle in effect.
The Tough Approach
However, to remove calluses on the feet, this gentle pad approach is rarely successful. A fairly tough abrasive can be used for persistent calluses and softening lotions can assist in the effort to remove them. A blade should not be used as cutting too deep into the foot can easily cause infection; remember that your feet are often in contact with bacteria of all types as we walk around barefoot. Any attempt to remove calluses can end in misery if an infection gets a hold. Sterilizing all equipment used each time, and application of topical bacterial sprays/creams is recommended to keep the area infection-free.
At the end of the day, there isn’t a cure of any sorts for calluses. Correct fitting shoes, the use of gloves and other protective work garb can reduce the need to remove calluses. To remove calluses already formed, abrasion seems to be the best method – prevention is really the only realistic alternative, sadly, not one that can be enjoyed by all.