The treatment of a callus is incomplete without foot callus prevention. So take for instance a callus has been formed due to a cause and it is there, interfering and disturbing your daily routine. You may be tempted to remove it with a callus removing tool and it can provide a lot of satisfaction at the point when you remove it and see your foot back to normal and free of the callus curse.

But this is never going to be enough and is not going to provide a permanent cure to the problem.

The most important step in the treatment of a foot callus or corn is to eliminate the cause that led to its development in the first place. Without eliminating the cause you are only pressing a refresh button for the callus to form by just removing it and not addressing the cause. So, without eliminating the trigger a callus will only keep recurring and be reforming in that area again and again.

In addition to this without treating the cause if you just keep removing the callus (remember it formed because of excessive stresses) then the underlying soft tissues may also suffer from some damage due to the increases stress. This can also cause a significant amount of pain. The callus does act like a shield and this shield is now lost.

So how to identify the cause?

In most cases, the location of the callus and the activity during which you experience pain will reveal the cause to us. And sometimes in the presence of a corn, any pain during a particular activity will indicate that which is responsible for the development of the callus.

Guiding you to identify the possible causes and eliminating them is what this article is mainly focused on.



The common sites where callus development is seen are:

  1. The ball of a foot.
  2. Under the big toe.
  3. Any bony prominence (Eg: Bunion).
  4. On top of a toe.
  5. On the heel.
  6. Between toes as a soft callus.

As you can see most of these sites are an area of prominence on the foot. So simply trying to recall in a day the activities that you do that place the most stresses on these prominences, like wearing a tight fitting jogging shoe, can help you to narrow down in the cause.

Besides these, you may also need to maintain proper foot care apart from just eliminating a cause, similar to tending for a patient in recovery, like for example moisturizing the area regularly and not letting it become dry which is another factor that can favor callus formation and to be considered in foot callus prevention

Without further adue, let us get into the causes….

The common causes that can lead to the development of a callus are listed.


1. Shoes with improper fitting:

Shoes need to be comfortable for the person who’s wearing them for foot callus prevention and in most instances that is not the case. Nowadays shoes are mainly bought based on their looks and trends rather than function and comfort.

Bad shoe features that cause callus :

  • narrow.
  • tight.
  • ill-fitting
  • high-heeled shoes.

And needless to say for women the shoe most preferred are the ones with high heels.

Generally, it is ideal to have at least half an inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe. Enough space to wiggle your toes inside must be present. In constricted shoes, unwanted and constant pressure in these areas due to lack of space can be a trigger for the formation of a callus.

Yes, some people with large feet may prefer a smaller shoe, but the consequences are not worth the risk.

You can custom make and tailor fit shoes for yourself in the case where you have a bony prominence and the available footwear does not match to your specific needs.

Tip for shoe selection: Prefer shoes that have a cushioned sole and a wide toe box.

2. Worn out shoes :

Shoes, when worn out, provide an un-uniform distribution of forces and pressure to the leg. A heel that is partially worn out on one side will have a higher force distribution on the other side. Similarly for the other features of the shoe.

These are factors that contribute to the formation of a callus over a period of time. So, for foot callus prevention, it is mandatory that worn out shoes be replaced and not used constantly.

Tip: Know when to change your shoes.

  • The sole pattern is worn out. The midsole has a different colour and when that colour shows through when the sole is worn out, it is meant to alert you.
  • The heel is worn out more on one side than the other, the shoe starts leaning to one side.
  • There are wrinkles on the side or bottom of the sole from the wearing out of the cushioning.
  • The uppers are tearing around the ankle.
  • The upper part near the toes start tearing and the toes start becoming visible through.

3. Foot care to diminish triggers :

There are many devices and products available that are meant to reduce friction and pressure inside the shoes so as to prevent callus formation. Some of the devices in foot callus prevention are :

  1. Insoles: Cushion pads that are placed inside shoes to give a comfort to the wearer and to eliminate any pressure on the undersurface of the foot. They are also available in forms that cover just the front segment or the area under the ball of the foot that is most susceptible to the formation of a callus.
  2. Corn pads: These are available in the form of strips to be worn over the affected area. They not only provide a cushioned effect but also contain a gel that helps in the removal of the formed callus.
  3. Toe separators: Toe separators are particularly useful in areas where there is increased friction from rubbing between adjacent toes.
  4. Toe caps: Toe caps are covers that are worn over a particular toe and prevents any friction or pressure that is acting over that toe. The material is made breathable so as to avoid any dryness. Some toe caps also contain a lining gel that helps in the treatment of any callus that has already begun to form.

Below is an example of metatarsal pads and insoles.


4. Use moisturizers :

Moisturizer prevents the development of dryness which can contribute to the formation of a callus. Dry, yellowish, hard skin is the characteristic presentation of a callus. Hence it is important to prevent the particular area under stress from becoming dry and staying that way.

Moisturizers can indeed help in foot callus prevention but they cannot completely prevent that development of a callus when all other trigger factors are still able to play a role.

Next up : High risk conditions that lead to callus formation

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