A callous is hypertrophic (thickened) epidermis (outer layer of skin) that is caused by excessive friction or intermittant pressure.
Callouses can occur anywhere on the body but is more common on the bottom of the foot due to the gravitational forces the body applies to the bones of the feet. Common areas of the foot for callouses are under the “ball of the foot” due to a plantarflexed metatarsal. Callouses also develop where shoes wear against bony prominences where an exostosis has developed. A callous along the back of the heel may form heel fissures.
A callous is more of a symptom rather than a condition. To fully treat a callous, this underlying condition needs to be discovered and treated appropriately.
Diagnosis of the underlying condition is important before treatment is rendered. Many people mistake callouses for plantars warts.
Podiatric Care may involve your podiatrist debriding the callous with a sharp blade on a regular basis. This is only a temporarily solution as the symptom is being treated but not the actual cause. It will likely return over time if this is all that is done. Callouses can also be treated with using a pumice stone following bathing where the callous has softened. In some instances your shoes can be modified or orthotics made to control the structure of your foot to decrease the pressure causing the callous.
Surgery may be performed for a callous to fix an underlying structural or other pathological problem.