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. In the simplest words, the foot is comprised of bones which are held together by ligaments. Then there are several layers of muscle and fascia which are designed to support and move the bones and joints of the foot. Finally, there are three layers of skin that overlay the muscle and fascia. 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 waterproof barrier. 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 present 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.

When shoes aren’t properly fitted to the foot, calluses and corns may develop on those specific,

smaller areas that receive undue friction and mechanical stress.

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, hyperpronated foot will often lead to areas of extreme friction and stress on the outer skin layer.

When mechanical foot bone 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 healthier foot alignment and motion. 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.