A callus, also known as callosity, is a toughened skin area that has become thick and hard due to repeated friction, pressure or other irritation.
Usually, calluses develop on the feet, especially on the bottoms of the feet and the underside of the big toe. Calluses can also develop on the hands, fingers or anywhere on the body where there is repeated friction.
Calluses on the feet are typically due to dry skin or too much friction on one area, such as the repeated rubbing caused by ill-fitting shoes. High-heeled shoes are the worst offenders. Other risk factors include foot deformities and wearing shoes or sandals without socks.
Also, people who are diabetic or who have a health condition that causes poor blood flow to the feet are at greater risk of developing calluses.
In addition to thick and hardened skin, calluses may have flaky and dry yellow skin patches. They are usually not painful but feel bumpy and less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin.
Nevertheless, a callus can cause discomfort when any type of pressure is applied to it, like while walking. It may also throb or burn sometimes.
While this problem is generally not serious, if not treated it can lead to other issues like skin ulceration or infection and cause tenderness, pain and swelling. Oftentimes, simply eliminating the source of friction or pressure is enough to help a callus heal on its own.
You can also treat calluses at home with some simple remedies. However, those who are diabetic must consult a doctor before trying any home treatment.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for calluses on the feet.
1. Epsom Salt Soak
One of the easiest ways to treat a foot callus is to soak the affected area in warm water mixed with Epsom salt. It will help soften the area, thereby making it easier to scrub the hard skin away and keep your feet free from infection.
- Put some hot water in a tub and add a handful of Epsom salt. Stir it thoroughly.
- Soak your feet in this solution for 10 minutes.
- Use a pumice stone to rub the affected area in a circular motion for a few minutes.
- Wash your feet with clean water to remove the dead skin cells.
- Pat dry and rub a thick foot lotion on your feet.
- Repeat this remedy as needed until the callus heals completely.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
You can also use apple cider vinegar to treat a callus. Its acidic nature helps soften the hard skin and speed up the healing process.
- Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and tape it to your callus before going to bed.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, exfoliate the affected area with a pumice stone.
- To keep the area moisturized, apply some olive oil or coconut oil.
- Repeat once daily until your callus is gone.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda works as a natural exfoliant, making it a very good remedy for calluses. The crystals in baking soda help exfoliate the hardened skin.
- Add three tablespoons of baking soda to a tub filled with warm water. Stir thoroughly and soak your feet in it for at least 10 minutes. Wash your feet and scrub the softened skin with a pumice stone.
- You can also massage the callus for a few minutes with a paste prepared with three parts baking soda and one part water. Wash the paste off and remove the dead skin cells by rubbing gently with a pumice stone.
Follow either of these remedies once daily until your feet look healthy again.
Aspirin can help soften the hardened skin around a callus. Plus, it will help alleviate the discomfort caused by the callus.
- Crush five or six aspirin tablets into powder form.
- Add one-half teaspoon of lemon juice and one-fourth teaspoon of water to the powder and mix it well.
- Apply this paste to the affected area and cover it with a plastic bag.
- Wrap it with a warm towel for 10 minutes.
- Remove the coverings and wash off the area with warm water.
- Scrape off the dead skin cells with a pumice stone.
- Repeat once daily for a few days.
5. Bread and Vinegar
Another very effective remedy for calluses on the feet is the paste of bread and distilled vinegar. This paste helps soften the callused skin as well as reduce the risk of infection.
- Soak your feet in warm water and then rub the affected area with a pumice stone.
- Clean and pat dry your feet.
- Soak a half slice of bread in one-half cup of white distilled vinegar.
- Put the soaked bread over the callus and wrap it with a bandage.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, remove the bandage and apply some moisturizing lotion.
- Repeat daily at night until you get the desired result.
Both lemon juice and lemon peel can be used in the treatment of calluses. The acidic nature of lemon will help get rid of the callus very quickly. Plus, it will help alleviate the discomfort.
- Place a small piece of lemon peel over the callus. Put a bandage around the peel to keep it in place. Leave it on overnight. The next morning, replace the peel with a new one. Repeat daily and in a few days the callus will be gone.
- You can also soak a cotton ball in freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply it on the affected area. Secure it with a bandage and leave it on overnight. The next morning, replace the cotton ball with a new one soaked in lemon juice. Continue until there is no trace of the callus on your foot.
Onion is acidic in nature, hence it is very effective for treating calluses. Plus, it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice and some salt on a thick onion slice. Put the onion slice on the affected area. Secure it with tape and leave it on overnight. Repeat daily for a week to remove the callus easily.
- Cut one small onion in half and soak it in white vinegar for three to four hours. Apply this vinegar-soaked onion to the callus and wrap your foot in plastic wrap. Leave it on overnight. The next morning, scrape away the dead skin cells with a pumice stone. Do this every day for a week.
8. Castor Oil
Natural oil like castor oil is also a good remedy for calluses. This thick oil helps moisturize dry, rough skin, which makes it effective in softening calluses.
- Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes and then scrub the area with a pumice stone. Cover the affected area with a cotton ball soaked in castor oil. Secure the cotton ball with a small piece of tape. Continue this daily until the callus disappears.
- Mix equal parts of castor oil and apple cider vinegar in a large pot. Heat the mixture until it is comfortably warm. Soak your feet in the warm mixture for at least 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and then get rid of the dead skin using a pumice stone. Do this once daily for three or four days.
9. Sea Salt
Sea salt works as a natural scrub to help get rid of dead, dry skin. This in turn helps repair callused feet.
- Mix together equal amounts of sea salt and olive oil and set it aside.
- Soften the callused area by soaking your feet in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Gently scrub the paste over the callused areas in circular motions for a few minutes.
- Rinse your feet with warm water and pat dry.
- Rub moisturizing cream, lotion or oil on your feet.
- Follow this remedy once daily until the calluses are healed completely.
Chamomile is another popular remedy for calluses. This herb has a soothing effect on the skin and its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the discomfort.
- Brew one to two cups of chamomile tea. Fill a small foot tub with some water and add the chamomile tea to it. Soak your feet in this soothing water for 10 minutes. Do this daily for a few days in the evening before going to bed. This will help keep your feet moisturized overnight.
- You can also prepare a mixture with one teaspoon of dried chamomile, one teaspoon of lemon juice and one crushed garlic clove. Mix it well and apply it to the affected area. Repeat once or twice daily until the callus is gone.
- Never try to remove calluses by cutting or slicing them as it increases the risk of infection.
- Make sure to wear comfortable footwear. If your footwear is tight or does not fit properly, change it immediately.
- Wear shoes made from natural materials, such as leather.
- Sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch on the inside soles of your shoes. This will help keep your feet dry and free from infections.
- Avoid heels whenever possible if you have calluses on your feet.
- Pad your shoes with shoe liners designed to get rid of calluses.
- Along with shoes, you must wear socks that fit properly. Make sure to wear cotton socks only.
See a physician if your calluses do not respond to these home remedies and tips or if your skin is painful or inflamed.