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Many Ways to Deal With Callus Pain

By June 19, 2023September 22nd, 2023No Comments

By Janet Cromley, LA Times

I am a 62-year-old woman with a steady daily workout pattern: spinning or cycling three days a week, Pilates and stretching one day a week and running one or two days a week. I have developed a large, uncomfortable callus behind the third toe of each foot. I try to control it with a pumice stone but recently when I ran it was almost like a rock or sock wrinkle in my shoe. New shoes have not helped.

-Lake Oswego, Ore.

This could be a simple callus, as you suspect, says Dr. Noreen Oswell, chief of podiatric surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Over-the-counter remedies include the pumice stone and exfoliating creams, especially ones containing urea. “If you use them every day after your shower, they can moisturize and minimize the callus,” Oswell says. You could also try over-the-counter arch supports to take pressure off the ball of the foot. These don’t feel good on all feet, so test them with easy walking first.

If pain persists, see a podiatrist. You may have an extremely deep callus (a plantar keratoma) or a neuroma. Plantar keratomas require professional debridement as well as an X-ray evaluation of the underlying bones. A bone in the area may be dropped, abnormally long or enlarged, causing extra pressure.

A neuroma occurs when nerves are squeezed between soft tissue and metatarsal bones.

“When people say they feel a “wrinkle in their sock” and there’s nothing there, it’s often a neuroma,” Oswell says.

Treatment includes orthotics (customized insoles that mold to the foot), steroid injections and, as a last resort, surgery.
Inflammation, arthritis or even a stress fracture could be causing the pain. But regardless of the diagnosis, Oswell thinks that because you are so active, the pain is likely to be mechanically induced. Orthotics could help.