Patient education

A callus is a circumscribed thickening and hypertrophy of the horny layer of the skin. It may be oval or elongated, gray or brown, and slightly elevated. It often appears on the flexor surfaces of hands and feet.


Calluses are caused by friction, pressure, or other irritation. In response to the pressure or friction, the skin begins to build up and form a callus or callosity. Abnormal anatomy of the feet, such as hammertoe, deformed metatarsals or other toe/foot deformities, can lead to callus formation. Ill-fitting footwear also plays a role in callus formation if friction and rubbing are excessive.


A thick, hardened area of skin on the foot or toes will be present.

calluses2 The area may make walking or standing painful. The area may be dry and may appear to be scaly or flaky


If you have a callus that hurts, you can try padding your shoe in the spot where the callus touches it with a callus pad or moleskin, which is available in most drugstores. Do not, however, try to cut off a callus yourself.

Conservative Treatments: Include padding and custom-made orthotics (insoles) that will not only relieve the pressure on the painful callus but also redistribute the abnormal forces causing the callus. Ask your doctor about these. Sometimes surgery can be an option to fix bone deformities.

Surgical Options

We strive to permanently resolve the cause of the callus rather than just trimming the callus which is only a temporary resolution. Sometimes surgery to realign the metatarsal bone, hammertoe correction or bone spur removal is necessary for permanent resolution.