Calluses are a common foot issue that many people experience. For most, calluses are a mild irritation. However, in severe cases, they can cause your skin to split and bleed, running the risk of infection.
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A callus is a patch of hard, thickened skin. Often yellowish in colour (depending on skin tone), calluses are rough to the touch. They can develop on different parts of the body but are common on the feet, usually affecting the ball of the foot, the heel, or the outer side of the big toe.

For the most part, calluses are inconvenient but do not cause too much disruption. However, if left untreated, you might find that your calluses become uncomfortable when standing or walking.

Although they develop on the skin, calluses have nerves and bursal sacs (shock-absorbing, fluid-filled balloons) beneath them that can trigger shooting pains, aching or soreness. Untreated calluses can also cause the skin to crack and split, leading to bleeding and potential infection.


Corns and calluses both manifest as areas of thickened, hard skin on the feet. Although they develop to protect the skin underneath from friction, the hardened layer can become uncomfortable. Calluses and corns are similar, and it’s easy to confuse the two. However, there are some key differences.

Corns are usually small and localised, affecting a limited area of skin — often the tops or sides of the toes. Calluses, on the other hand, can impact larger areas. They often spread across the heel or ball of the foot. Calluses also tend to be less defined in shape than corns, which are generally circular. Please visit here to find out more about our corn removal treatment.


Calluses develop due to repeated friction or pressure, as your shoes or the ground rub against the bony parts of your foot. In response to the friction, the skin thickens over time.

But what causes the increased pressure? This can be down to a few different factors, including:

Improper Footwear​

If your shoes are too small, they can impart pressure on certain parts of your feet. People who wear high heels may be at higher risk of calluses on their heels and the balls of their feet.

Walking Style​

Your gait (the way you walk) can also impact your chances of callus formation. Some people put excess pressure on certain parts of the bottom of the foot

An Underlying Issue Or Inherited Bone Deformity​

Conditions such as arthritis and bunions, or deformities including hammertoe may increase the risk of calluses. They can cause your feet to press against shoes with more pressure and friction.

Metatarsal Configuration

Sometimes, the formation of your metatarsal bones can cause calluses. A plantar callus can develop when you have one metatarsal bone that is longer than the others. It hits the ground with force whenever you walk. The skin beneath this bone then thickens considerably. It can feel as though you have a stone in your shoe.

Similarly, a dropped metatarsal can lead to Intractable Plantar Keratosis (IPK): a deep callus directly under the ball of the foot. Sometimes, dropped metatarsals are congenital. Other times, they may result from a fracture or gradual structural change.


Effective callus treatment requires fixing the underlying problem. This may mean changing your footwear or getting surgery to treat hammertoe.

Identifying The Cause

At MyFootMedic, we offer a range of services, including a foot health check and biomechanical assessment to identify which factors are impacting pressure or friction and leading to calluses. Insoles & Orthotics can be used to redistribute pressure away from painful points of your feet, or to address biomechanical abnormalities.

Callus Reduction

You might be aware of over-the-counter callus removers. After repeated application, these can peel excessive skin leading to pain and infection.

A safer option is to speak to a podiatrist about callus reduction. A professional podiatrist will be able to carry out a callus removal treatment known as debridement.

Home Treatment

You can relieve callus discomfort by soaking the affected area in warm, soapy water for 10 minutes, and using a pumice stone to gently file away the dead skin. After filing, you can apply moisturiser to soften the skin.


At MyFootMedic, our podiatry experts can advise you on medication to help relieve callus pain and inflammation.


If you’re looking for local callus treatment in Bedford, you can visit the MyFootMedic clinic or book an appointment online.

Book an appointment today, and our podiatrists will be able to assess, diagnose and treat your callus using the most appropriate methods.