Ask a Doc: Treating Summer Calluses

April 14, 2016
Dear Doctor:
During the summer months, I usually have calluses that develop on my heels and feet. They usually are less of an issue during the winter, but still present. What can I do to prevent these issues?

Dear Reader:
Thank you for your question. The issues with your feet that you are experiencing are deep callus fissures to your heel and calluses to your feet. These calluses develop due to areas of pressure on the feet. The body develops these in the attempt to protect the feet against shear forces and pressure. As these progress, the calluses will only get larger and potentially more painful. Treatment of these will be necessary so that progression does not cause pain. Fissures on the heel can potentially become infected, especially in patients with diabetes. Thickened calluses to the foot over time can become involved with the sweat glands of the foot and cause or become an intractable plantar keratosis (IPK). These conditions can be more difficult to remedy.

Treatment of these fissures on the heel and calluses are focused on thining of the calluses by debridement performed by a doctor in the office. Once the calluses have been trimmed properly, agents that soften the calluses are used. The calluses can also be continuously thinned at home with use of a pumice stone. The final aspect of treatment are orthotics that pad and protect the foot. Along with orthotics, proper shoes that have good support and cushioning should be used.

Overall, calluses can be a source of pain and discomfort. The appropriate treatment is important to ensure that these problems get remedied and that small problems do not progress into larger issues.

Should these issues occur, they should be taken care of by a foot specialist. As always, thank you for reading.

Stasko PeterPeter Stasko, DPM, a fellowship trained Foot and Ankle Surgeon, earned his medical degree at Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and completed a three year foot and ankle residency program at the top ranked Western Pennsylvania Hospital Foot and Ankle Surgical Residency in Pittsburgh, PA. He also completed a foot and ankle fellowship at the Mon Valley Foot and Ankle Reconstructive Fellowship in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Stasko sees patients at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint in Newark and Geneva and performs surgeries at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital.

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