Calluses on your feet aren’t just unsightly but can be painful too. How do these bumpy tough areas of skin develop? Basically, if you repeatedly rub a part of your skin, over a period of time it’ll harden and thicken to form that discolored (yellowish or grayish) callus or corn. Calluses generally develop on the ball of your foot but can also appear between the toes, on the heel, or outside your little or big toe. High heels or uncomfortably tight shoes are often responsible – they can put pressure on these areas and cause calluses to form.1 Your doctor can pare away your callus with a knife – but this is definitely not something you should try at home!. Instead, look to these simple home remedies to help you deal with calluses.
Home Remedies To Remove Calluses On The Feet
1. Soak And File
Soak the callus in warm water for around 5 to 10 minutes. This should soften the hard skin. Now go to work on it with a pumice stone. First, you need to wet the pumice stone with warm water and use it to gently file away the callus. Rub using a sideways or circular motion to get rid of the dead skin. However, do be careful to not remove too much skin – that may cause bleeding and can also leave you vulnerable to infection.2
Using a moisturizer regularly on your callused feet can, over time, help to soften hard skin. Natural oils like coconut oil and sesame oil also work well as moisturizers which can keep your skin from drying out by forming a protective barrier that prevents moisture from escaping.3 4 And do keep in mind that moisturizers work better on slightly damp skin.
3. Get Some Padding
A protective pad can prevent calluses from getting irritated due to friction. Cut some moleskin into two half moons and position it around your callus to make a doughnut shape with the callus at the center. You can also use toe sleeves or toe caps which will fit over your toes or toe separators that go between your toes to protect them.5 Shoe inserts and customized padding that redistributes pressure at the base of your foot can also be helpful if you’re prone to calluses.6
4. Get Comfortable Shoes
Wearing comfortable shoes that fit can relieve pressure from a callus or corn. Pay particular attention to the toe box of your shoes. Make sure they’re wide enough to keep your toes from rubbing against each other and deep enough to keep your toes from rubbing against the top of your shoes.
Before you get a new pair, remember to try both shoes on and walk around a bit to make sure they’re comfortable. Also, go shoe shopping in the afternoon – your feet tend to be slightly swollen then from walking around all day and are at their largest. Do give your favorite pair of shoes a break and wear a variety of shoes. This helps to keep your feet from getting rubbed in the same place continuously.7
5. Try A Flaxseed Pack
Flaxseed oil, which has emollient (softening) and anti-inflammatory properties, can be helpful if you have calluses. Essential fatty acids present in flax give this healing oil its skin softening, moisturizing, and soothing properties.8
How to use: Soak your feet in warm water then apply a cloth soaked in warm flaxseed oil to your callus. Wrap this in cling film and leave it on overnight.
6. Use Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has salicylic acid and amino acids that soften hardened skin cells9 Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties come in handy too.
How to use: Split an aloe leaf and tape the inside of the leaf which contains a gel-like substance to your callus. Leave it on overnight. In the morning, gently rub off your callus with a pumice stone or dry washcloth.
7. Try Licorice
Licorice contains estrogen-like substances that can soften hard skin and pare down the callus naturally.
How to use: Make a paste by grinding a few licorice sticks and mixing them with petroleum jelly. Apply this paste to the callused skin to soften it.10
8. Soak In Castor Oil And Vinegar
Castor oil is another ingredient that’s well known for its skin softening and moisturizing properties. It can also stimulate the production of elastin and collagen which provide elasticity and structure to your skin. Add a little vinegar, which can slough off hardened skin, into the mix and you’ve got a powerful agent for softening and removing calluses.11
How to use: Warm up equal quantities of vinegar and castor oil and soak your callus in it. Then wash off the castor oil and use a pumice stone to rub off rough skin.
9. Go For Calendula
We’ve known for centuries that calendula or pot marigold is one of your skin’s best friends. Not only does it hydrate and moisturize skin but it also has anti-inflammatory properties. So put it to work on those hard calluses.12
How to use: Apply calendula oil daily to your callused skin to soften it.
10. Exfoliate With Salt
Fine-grained salt is another great option for gently exfoliating your skin.
How to use: Mix a tablespoon of common salt with a tablespoon of olive oil. Massage this mixture into hardened skin before you bathe and rinse off in the shower.13
11. Trim Your Toenails
If your toenails are too long they can force your toes to push against your shoes and aggravate calluses. To make sure your toes don’t come under pressure, keep your nails short.14
Do keep in mind that if you have a medical condition like diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, or peripheral arterial disease which can cause circulatory problems, you should see your doctor when calluses or corns form on your feet.15
|↑1, ↑7, ↑14||Blisters, Calluses, and Corns. The Nemours Foundation.|
|↑2, ↑5||How to treat corns and calluses. American Academy of Dermatology.|
|↑3||Coconut Oil. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑4||Warra, A. A. “Sesame (Sesamum Indicum L.) seed oil methods of extraction and its prospects in cosmetic industry: A review.” Bayero Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences 4, no. 2 (2011): 164-168.|
|↑6||Feet – problems and treatments. Department of Health & Human Services.|
|↑8||Dawid-Pać, Renata. “Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.” Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postȩpy Dermatologii I Alergologii 30, no. 3 (2013): 170.|
|↑9||Surjushe, Amar, Resham Vasani, and D. G. Saple. “Aloe vera: A short review.” Indian journal of dermatology 53, no. 4 (2008): 163.|
|↑10, ↑13||The Editors of Prevention. The Doctors Book of Home Remedies: Quick Fixes, Clever Techniques, and Uncommon Cures to Get You Feeling Better Fast. Rodale, 2010.|
|↑11||Castor Oil. ND Health Facts.|
|↑12||Calendula. University of Maryland.|
|↑15||Calluses and Corns. HealthLink BC.|