Q&A

I have a client who told me she has a “pressure callus.” How should I treat it?

Q.

I have a client who told me she has a “pressure callus.” It’s on the bottom of her foot below her first toe. Is this a special kind of callus? How should I treat it?

A.

I think a pressure callus is the same thing as a callus. It’s from weight bearing — from pressure. Generally the only time I see the term “pressure callus” is with diabetics. All calluses are a thickening of the outermost layers of skin, due to friction. Under the second toe is a common area of “shearing” pressure, sometimes giving us a shearing callus. It’s the twist of the foot when we walk that gives us shearing calluses, or shearing pressure calluses.

A podiatrist would treat it with a sharp scalpel to debride it gently. I use moleskin adhesive afterwards, especially if the patient is sensitive. A nail tech could scrub the area with an abrasive pumice to remove some of it. Some of it is usually necessary for comfortable walking. If it’s huge, have a podiatrist treat the callus every six weeks and the nail tech can pumice the area every two weeks.  — Johanna Youner, D.P.M., is attending podiatric physician and surgeon at New York Downtown Hospital and is also in private practice in New York City.

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