How to get rid of calluses- know from dermatologist(Dermatocare's skin diseases guide)

Written By Dr Surbhi, MD Skin

Last updated: 03/10/18

“Doctor, the skin on my toes are getting thickened and less sensitive to touch. Is it toe callus? How do I get rid of it?” Calluses are areas of diffuse thickening that develop due to intermittent pressure or friction on a broader area of skin like palms, soles, knees, etc.

They are painless unlike corns, and the thickened skin is often less sensitive to touch. In this article, we will highlight what causes callus and a step-to-step guide on how to get rid of callus.

Recommended product: Dr. Scholl's Corn/Callus Remover Liquid

What causes callus? 

Callus occurs because of intermittent pressure on the broader area of skin. They occur when a certain area of skin gets rubbed in a repetitive activity done by a person. Such repetitive actions may be due to his occupation, or involvement in sports, hobby, praying or otherwise. For example:  

  • Calluses on knuckles of boxers.
  • Calluses on toes in joggers.
  • Calluses on nipples in runners.
  • Calluses on the neck in a violinist.
  • Calluses on hands in bowlers or writers.
  • Calluses on the knee are common in those who prayer daily, interestingly called as prayer callus.
  • Calluses on feet can occur because of bony deformities like bunions or hammertoe.

If you have a callus in a particular area of skin, just keep a note on which kind of activities might be causing them.

MUST TRY: Get dermatologist assisted skincare regimen tailored to your skin, by filling our Questionnaire.

How to get rid of callus?

Here is a step-to-step guide on how to get rid of callus at home:

  • Identify the activity that is causing callus: Keep a watch on all the activities that put pressure or friction on the area of callus, and then find out which one of them is done by you repetitively.
  • Change the activity to avoid pressure: If possible, modify that activity in a way that minimum or no pressure is exerted on that area.
  • Pad or cushion the area of callus: This might involve wearing gloves or socks, bandaging, padding with cotton or foam or wearing protective rings, etc. in the area of callus.
  • Pad or cushion the cause of callus: If you cannot pad the callus, you could pad the cause of callus, like using a soft matt below your knees while praying.
  • Soften the callus: Dip your feet in warm water for 15 minutes to soften the callus followed by gentle rubbing with a pumice stone.
  • Cap the callus: There are varieties of corn caps available OTC with varied concentration of salicylic acid. We recommend you to soften the callus by soaking in warm water followed by thorough drying and then put the corn cap over the callus avoiding the normal skin.
  • Paint the Callus: Corn paints are collodion mixture of salicylic acid and lactic acid available by prescription or otherwise. They have an edge over corn caps because they can be applied exactly over the callus without spillage owing to their thick consistency and instant drying property.

What is the treatment of calluses?

You might need a consultation with a general physician, chiropodist or dermatologist if above measure is not helping. He might prescribe you a corn paint to apply or might pair the thickened skin of callus. Pairing involves scraping the dead skin of the callus with the help of blade. Pairing is painless procedure and bleeding does not occur during the procedure because the callus is devoid of blood vessels.


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