Most of us have had a callus at some point in time. You might develop them after a particularly hard workout, from wearing the wrong size shoes, or you may continually have small calluses on your feet. These thick, dry patches can be unsightly and perhaps uncomfortable, but are they really unhealthy? Could calluses actually be good for your feet? There are many schools of thought on this topic. Fortunately, rather than debating it with your friends or conducting endless online searches, accomplished Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, can help. In the following blog, we get candid about calluses. Read on to learn more about what they are and find out about their benefits versus disadvantages.
What Are Calluses?
Before we discuss their pros and cons, it is important to understand what calluses actually are. FootVitals explains: “calluses, also called tylomas or keratomas, are protective layers of compacted, dead skin cells or patches of skin that thicken, especially in bone areas [such as the soles and balls of the feet], to protect the skin from damage or injury.” Calluses can often get confused with corns, which look and feel similar, except that corns are smaller, have tough centers, and involve more inflammation. Corns often occur on the sides of the feet or the toes, while calluses typically affect weight-baring regions, like the ball of the foot, sole, or heel.
Calluses are quite a common condition. Harvard Health Publications notes: “According to the Podiatric Medical Association, painful…calluses affect about 5 percent of people in the United States every year, and many people never seek help.” Learning more about the good and bad aspects of calluses can help you take charge of your podiatric health.
Generally, calluses develop as a response to friction and weight. Your body wouldn’t do this if it didn’t have some benefit. As Everyday Health’s Dr. Ava Shamban describes: “they’re your body’s natural bumper…Calluses often begin as blisters and are a function of the body’s immune system.” Basically, if a blister isn’t enough to get you to stop putting so much pressure on that area of your skin, your body builds a shield over it. As Dr. Shamban puts it: “the body is protecting you from yourself.”
If you’re an athlete, calluses might be a welcome advantage, toughening up your skin so you can continue pounding the pavement. If your calluses come from improper footwear, bad posture, or podiatric injuries, their placement can help you determine which areas of the foot you need to treat.
Calluses do have their fair share of drawbacks.
First of all, they can be uncomfortable. They may sting, burn, throb, or ache. This discomfort could interfere with your daily activities. Some people may also be embarrassed by the appearance of calluses.
Furthermore, the changes in tissue that occur with a callus could leave the skin more vulnerable to infection. FootVitals warns: “if proper treatment steps are not taken, the callus can become infected, which may lead to additional symptoms. WebMD adds: “Feet spend most of their time in a closed, moist environment—ideal for breeding bacteria.” If you notice swelling, pus, redness, or any other symptoms of infection in or around your callus, you should see Dr. LaMour as soon as possible.
While a relatively minor issue on its own, a callus could also be a symptom of a larger podiatric problem. For example, WebMD notes: “If you or your child develops a callus that has no clear source of pressure, have it looked at by a doctor since it could be a wart or caused by a foreign body, like a splinter, trapped under the skin.” More general podiatric conditions like flat feet or bunions can also cause calluses. Patients who have diabetes should also pay particular attention to any changes in their feet, including calluses.
Do You Have a Callus?
If this condition is bothering you or you notice any other symptoms, you need to see Dr. LaMour. He can examine your feet, provide an accurate diagnosis, and create a customized callus treatment plan just for you.Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to find out more and schedule an appointment!
Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/are-calluses-good-for-you/