Calluses on the feet can be painful and unsightly, but these podiatrist-recommended products can help.
Calluses may be common, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying. The thick lesions typically form under bony pressure points on the feet. "They are the body’s way of forming a natural cushion against the rubbing of shoes or other bones like in the case of hammertoes," says , DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab. "Then that cushion, or callus, can become swollen, painful, and unsightly."
To avoid calluses, opt for shoes that accommodate your foot shape (AKA avoid narrow, pointy, or high heeled shoes). "Once a callus has already developed, shoe gear becomes even more important," says Dr. Sutera. Consider padding the area and applying soothing creams that can help soften the skin.
"The best way to treat a callus would be to have it evaluated by your podiatrist who can professionally thin it down and sometimes administer an anti-inflammatory medication (oral, injectable, or topical) to reduce the pain and swelling,” adds Dr. Sutera. Not sure what to use in the meantime? Below are the five best products to use if you have calluses on your feet.
Vaseline is a super affordable way to soften callused skin. "It’s a sealant," explains Emily Splichal, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist. "When you take a bath or shower, your skin absorbs all the water and moisture. Vaseline helps lock all that in so it stays within in the skin." Apply it to a callus immediately after bathing, then cover the area with plastic wrap overnight to seal in moisture and nix rough skin.
Zenda Naturals Pumice Stone
To treat calluses and massage your feet at the same time, try using a pumice stone. "These are better than the blades they use in nail salons because the chance of cutting yourself is much lower," explains Dr. Splichal.
AmLactin Foot Repair Cream
"I often advise patients against using medicated over-the-counter callus removers since the acids in them can burn deep layers of the skin, potentially causing infection and scarring," says Dr. Sutera. "Using a foot cream with a more gentle concentration of lactic acid like AmLactin is a better alternative that can help soften the callus gradually."
Ped Egg Foot File
In addition to applying topical treatments like creams or ointments nightly, Dr. Splichal encourages patients to use "mechanical debridement" tools (like this Ped Egg foot file) on calluses one to two times per week to remove coarse skin on the foot.