When the spring and summer months hit, everyone (women and men alike) choose to leave their socks and closed-toe footwear behind and opt for the lighter, breezier open-toed shoes and sandals instead. And with good reason. Your feet need a breather also and it’s nice to feel the breeze on your feet for a change.
But after a long, hard winter, our feet have often been neglected. Calluses have formed. And we want to suddenly play catch-up so that we can strut our feet proudly about.
We’ve been writing a lot this week about walking and running as a way to stay active and healthy in Kelowna. But with this type of exercise, a common problem people have or develop is foot calluses.
Unfortunately, the more you walk or run, the more likely you are to develop calluses. The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to try to prevent these and to treat them as they develop.
The Facts About Calluses
– Calluses (or corns) are caused by friction or pressure and result in thick, dry skin forming.
– Callus vs. corn: same thing, different location. If it’s on the bottom of your heel it’s a callus. And if it’s on the top of your foot, it’s called a corn.
– Callus is just dead skin cells that develop on a particular part of your body. They can develop on your hands, joints, feet, etc.
– By the time you reach 50, you will have walked an average of 120,000 km.
How Can You Prevent Calluses?
The first question is (or should be) how you can prevent calluses. Because of course, if you don’t have the problem to begin with, you won’t have to deal with it.
As we’ve just learned, foot calluses are caused by friction on the foot. The reason this happens is often because your shoes are too restrictive or tight. This might sound silly, but it’s really important to ensure the shoes you buy fit your feet properly. If the toes are scrunched together you’ll develop corns on your toes.
The other main cause is repeated pressure, which is often experienced by athletes or runners in particular. Making sure you are wearing the proper footwear and treating your feet afterwards will help prevent calluses from forming.
How Can I Treat Calluses?
Technically a callus isn’t anything to worry about. It’s not caused by a virus, it’s not contagious and it shouldn’t hurt. (Of course, if it does hurt, it’s important you go see your family doctor or your podiatrist.)
However, we do still want to treat calluses for no other reason than simple esthetics. You can purchase things like pumice stones and foot files to treat your feet at home. Soak your feet in warm water and then exfoliate the dead skin (callus) with these items.
For a great home-remedy tip, apply olive oil to the treated area and then cover with Vaseline to seal it it in. Put a clean pair of socks on stay off your feet for at least an hour while the oil is absorbed by your skin.
There are also chemical ways you can remove the calluses — like with salicylic acid which will dissolve the dead skin. However this can harm the healthy surrounding skin, so it’s advised that you speak with your doctor before trying anything like this at home.