Being a chiropractic clinic that focuses on foot care, we sometimes
receive questions on how to improve calluses on the feet. Calluses
may develop on the soles of the feet for several reasons, but one
of the most common causes involves abnormal pressure and
mechanical stress to the skin and soft tissues of the foot.
The outermost layer of skin is known as the epidermis, which
contains keratin. Keratin is a protein found in skin and nails and is
the key structural material designed to provide protection and a
The epidermis over the sole of the foot can react to abnormal
mechanical stress, causing it to become thicker and coarse. This
thickening of the skin is the body’s mechanism to protect the
underlying fascia and muscle from injury. Those thickened layers
of skin are referred to as calluses and corns.
Calluses are normally larger than corns and occur on the sole of
the foot, whereas corns are generally smaller, more well-defined,
and develop on the non-weight bearing areas of the foot.
One of the most common
causes of corns and
calluses includes poorly
fitting shoes. Shoes that
cause excessive pressure
on specific parts of the
foot may lead to repeated,
mechanical stress. High
heels tend to cause
excessive pressure over
the balls of the feet. Also, loosely fitting shoes, or shoes worn
untied may lead to abnormal pressure on specific areas of the foot.
Another cause for abnormal mechanical stress on the epidermis
occurs as the result of structural misalignments of the foot bones
and joints. Feet with either a high, rigid arch structure, or a flat,
hyper-pronated foot may lead to areas of extreme friction and
stress on the outer skin layer.
When foot misalignments are present, it may be difficult to find
shoes that don’t exert any excessive friction and pressure on
certain areas. Common areas of increased pressure include the
side of the heel, the ball of the foot and the first or fifth toe. Even
with the most properly fitting shoes, some people will find that
it’s nearly impossible to prevent calluses from developing.
Chiropractic foot adjustments are beneficial in restoring healthy
foot alignment. Patients with chronic calluses and corns may
benefit from improved foot structure and mobility, and reduced
friction over those affected areas, which will assist the body’s
natural healing capacity.