Have you ever wondered why you are replacing your socks every couple of weeks? You rationalize your frequent purchases by saying that maybe the water temperature on your washing machine was too high or that maybe you used too much bleach in the wash. You might even start thinking that slippers are a better option than socks to walk in around the house. All of the above might be true but what if there was another reason why your socks kept falling apart? Could YOU be the reason? More specifically, the callouses on the bottom of YOUR FEET be the culprit?
WHAT IS A CALLUS? A Callus is a firm thickening of the top layer of skin in a localized area that is caused due to repetitive friction. In some instances they can be a sign/symptom of an underlying bony abnormality. This thickened skin constantly can rub against the material of the sock and can cause wear and tear that ultimately leads to holes.
CALLUS TREATMENT. So what can you do at home to get rid of these callouses? Soak, Moisturize, Soak, Moisturize, Soak, Moisturize. I can not reiterate that enough. A good moisturizer is one that contains alpha hydroxyl acids or urea. A good example of an alpha hydroxyl acid would be glycolic acid. These ingredients are excellent debriding agents and can help slough off hardened, thickened skin. You can also incorporate the use of a pumice stone on your callouses but be sure to only use it with water as serious damage to your skin can occur if your skin is dry. NEVER use a sharp instrument on our feet or let anyone other than a medical professional use a sharp instrument on your feet for debriding callouses.
Over the counter corn/callus removers is also an option to soften calloused skin. They contain a certain percentage of acid in each pad that debrides the area that it is placed over. The drawback is that the pads can not determine what is abnormal versus normal skin so it is going to debride everything that it touches. good or bad. If not careful, good skin can accidentally become included in the treatment and a larger problem can be created. Diabetic patients and patients with peripheral neuropathy should ask their doctor before starting this home treatment.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP. In some cases, home treatments just aren’t going to cut it. (pardon the pun) All of the soaking, moisturizing, filing, and padding are literally not putting a dent in the callus build-up. That is when you might want to seek medical attention. Here at Crawford Podiatry & Aesthetics, one of the ways we address this issue is with a foot treatment that includes microdermabrasion and a chemical peel. This process gently removes the layer of thickened, rough skin with the ultimate goal of restoring the smooth, soft skin underneath. In some severe cases, more than one treatment is needed to achieve this goal. This treatment is recommended every 6-8 weeks with a refresher in between visits. For the chronic severe cases where an underlying bony abnormality is present, surgical intervention and/or orthotics may be required.
THE EXCEPTION NOT THE RULE. No longer do you have to deal with holy socks…unless you want to. There are options out there for you whether you are a DIY or want to be pampered. Either way, stop throwing away your money, literally, and start taking care of your feet.