Dry Skin on Feet

What Causes Calluses on the Feet?

Calluses are thick areas of skin. They are typically caused by some type of friction. So, it’s no surprise that one of the most common places for calluses to occur is on the feet. Hardly any other area of the body experiences as much friction each day as our feet do. It’s easy to ignore this problem until it becomes painful or embarrassing.

These thickened areas of skin are often mistaken or confused with corns. What’s the good news? Calluses don’t need the kind of treatment that corns typically do. They can usually be buffed away using the best electric callus removal tools.

If you’ve ever had a callus on your hand, it could be from gripping something repeatedly. That’s why athlete’s, like golfers or tennis players, frequently get them. Or, people who work with tools. Calluses on the feet are often caused by the type of footwear or shoes that are overly tight. They can even be caused by going barefoot too often.

So, what are the specifics of what causes calluses to form? Are they preventable? Once you know what you might be doing to cause uncomfortable thickening of the skin on your feet, you can make a few simple changes to remedy the situation.

What Is Causing Calluses to Form on My Feet?

We will focus on several causes of foot calluses. Knowing the reasons, to begin with, can help you prevent calluses in the future. Not only will we cover the causes of callused feet, but we’ll also provide a few preventative measures and ways to get rid of calluses safely.

Calluses aren’t usually harmful. They can become dangerous if they burst open or are cut open in any way. Even if they aren’t, though, they can make it painful to wear shoes and walk. They can also be unsightly to look at, and embarrassing for some people.

Let’s take a look at what might be causing this build up of thick skin on your feet…

High-Heeled Dress Shoes

High heels may look nice, but they can cause a multitude of different foot problems. Not only do they tend to pinch your toes and create discomfort, but they can also contribute to things like toenail fungus or an ingrown toenail.

Additionally, wearing high heels frequently can lead to calluses on your feet. When you’re wearing a high-heeled shoe, think about where most of the pressure is going: The ball of your foot. This takes direct impact every time you take a step. The shoe doesn’t give your entire foot the chance to absorb the impact from walking.

Because most high heels are relatively tight, to begin with, this constant rubbing and impact can quickly create thicker, hard skin on the balls of your feet. As this build up over time, it can make it nearly impossible to continue to wear high-heeled shoes comfortably.

Shoes That Are Too Tight

One of the main reasons that calluses form on the feet is because of shoes that are too tight. Ill-fitting footwear is not only uncomfortable, but it is the culprit behind foot problems like blisters and corns as well.

When you wear shoes that are too small, the friction of your skin against them frequently can cause the skin to thicken and harden. It’s doing this to protect itself. But, calluses tend to form in the process, and it can become painful and embarrassing.

The worst part about calluses forming because of small shoes is that they can even occur on the sides of your feet or the top. It all depends on where the material of the shoe is rubbing against your skin the most. Wearing socks doesn’t always help, either. The shoe can still cause the material of the sock to rub against your feet. This still creates excess friction, leading to a hardening of the skin.

You don’t have to get rid of your shoes just because they don’t fit perfectly. One of the best options is to use a shoe-stretching device. These devices can give you a bit more wiggle room and make your shoes fit more comfortably. You can also use a shoe stretcher liquid spray to make the process easier. Some sprays allow you to use your own feet as the ‘mold’ for stretching out your shoes. This creates a custom fit.

A shoe stretcher won’t necessarily change your shoes an entire size. But, it will give you the space needed to cause less friction. Once the material of your shoes stops rubbing against your feet, you shouldn’t continue to experience a build-up of hard skin.


Unfortunately, being too overweight doesn’t just lead to health problems. It can lead to a hardening and thickening of the skin on your feet, too. When you put too much weight on your feet, you’re causing instant friction. The excess weight can ‘flatten’ your feet more than usual, causing them to press against your shoes constantly. It’s even a problem when you go barefoot.

Flat feet are another common problem for calluses. If there is no arch to your foot, the entire sole is constantly being rubbed against something. Each time you take a step, that pressure builds up. Because your skin wants to protect the nerves within your feet, it will continue to get thicker and thicker.

Your Walk or Gait

Even if your shoes fit correctly and you’re in good shape, the way you walk can affect how much friction is being caused. The motion in which you walk (your gait) is important to pay attention to. If you have abnormalities in your gait, you could be putting excessive pressure on certain areas of your feet. Some people tend to walk more on the ball of the foot. Others rest more on the heel.

If you’re not evenly distributing pressure in each step, one part of the foot is experiencing more friction than another. With every step, you’re causing that area of the foot to rub against a shoe, the ground, etc.

It won’t take long for you to notice that you probably have thicker, harder skin on that area. This can help to keep your feet comfortable and protected for a while. But, as it continues to build up, it can become uncomfortable to continue to walk in such a fashion.

Things that can cause calluses to form on the feet

How Can I Get Rid of Calluses?

Many people try to shave or cut away calluses. The skin becomes so thick that it’s easy to think they can be sliced away without pain. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. You should never take any type of blade or razor to callused feet.

One of the best ways of getting rid of calluses safely is with an electric foot file. They are safe, work in just minutes, and can give you baby-soft feet. Electric files can be used initially to shave down the hard skin and shed away layers. They can then be used as maintenance devices to keep excess thick skin and calluses from forming.

There are home remedies that can help soften your skin and make it easier to get rid of calluses, too. Try to exfoliate your feet as much as possible to shed these thick layers of skin. It will keep your feet soft, smooth, and healthy.

Aside from using a product to remove calluses, the best thing you can do is prevent them from getting worse. This is easier for some cases than others. If you have ill-fitting shoes, for example, using a shoe stretcher or getting a bigger size can help instantly.

When you have abnormalities in your gait, you may want to get suggestions from your doctor or a physical therapist. If you can’t change the way you walk, things like insoles in your shoes may be necessary to balance out the pressure and friction. Obviously, issues like obesity need to be looked at and taken care of on a personal level.

The good news is that it’s not necessarily difficult to prevent a build-up of hard, thick skin on your feet. It usually takes nothing more than a few simple changes and life choices.

Are Calluses Completely Preventable?

By making the changes listed above, you can reduce the risk of forming calluses significantly. However, they may not always be completely preventable. We’re not always in complete control over what causes excess friction. Sometimes, it’s easier to control than others. You may not even realize you’re experiencing extra pressure on your feet until a thick build up of skin occurs.

If you do have a build up of skin, though, don’t worry. Even years of build-up can be removed and shed away. Take precautions and preventative measures where you can. Knowing what might be causing your calluses can make it easier to avoid embarrassment and discomfort.