What is a Callus?

Video Transcript:

So here’s another daily tip from your friendly local dermatologist.

So we’ve all had calluses, and whether those calluses are a result of us walking a lot on shoes that don’t fit well, or whether playing guitar and so you get the callus here, they’re all a result of chronic rubbing or pressure in a certain area. And what happens is, the body interprets that as a form of trauma. And if you constantly get the same form of trauma in an area, playing guitar, walking on ill-fitting shoes, then what your body’s gonna do is try to protect itself from that trauma, by making thicker skin.

Now the thicker skin is basically just dead skin protein that builds up. That’s why you can oftentimes shave off the top portion of the callus and you won’t even feel anything. That top extra portion of dead skin is going to give you some padding, and a barrier to that repetitive trauma. So if you know what the repetitive trauma is, and there’s not much you can do about it, in fact, the callus is actually good, like playing guitar so you can get those chords just right, then leave it alone. Don’t do anything to it. 

But if it’s on the bottom of your foot, maybe see a podiatrist, see if orthotics will help. And you can get certain devices that can help shrink that callus down. Because sometimes they can get so thick, it feels like you’re stepping on a pebble, and that just hurts.

Dr. Reagan Anderson is a local dermatologist from Colorado Springs.