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Callus

A callus (or callosity) is a toughened area of skin which has become relatively thick and hard in response to repeated friction, pressure, or other irritation. Rubbing that is too frequent or forceful will cause blisters rather than allow calluses to form. Since repeated contact is required, calluses are most often found on feet because of frequent walking. Calluses are generally not harmful, but may sometimes lead to other problems, such as skin ulceration or infection.
Who it affects: 
People who frequently walk or hike are most commonly affected. However, sometimes a callus occurs where there is no rubbing or pressure. These hyperkeratoses can have a variety of causes. Some toxins, such as arsenic, can cause thick palms and soles. Some diseases, such as syphilis, can cause thickening of the palms and soles as well as pinpoint hyperkeratoses. There is a benign condition called keratosis palmaris et plantaris, which produces corns in the creases of the fingers and non-weight bearing spaces of the feet. Some of this may be caused by actinic keratosis, which occurs due to overexposure to sun or with age and hormonal shifts.
Treatment: 

Calluses are easier to prevent than to treat. When it is not desirable to form a callus, minimizing rubbing and pressure will prevent callus formation. Footwear should be properly fitted, and protective pads, rings or skin dressings may be used. People with poor circulation or sensation should check their skin often for signs of rubbing and irritation so they can minimize any damage.

Calluses may go away by themselves eventually, once the irritation is consistently avoided. They may also be dissolved with keratolytic agents containing salicylic acid, sanded down with a pumice stone or filed down with a callus shaver, or pared down by a professional such as a podiatrist or a foot health practitioner.

Image Credit: 
Photo by Andrew Bossi. Adapted for Sneakerland by Sites for Friends. This file is licensed under a Creative Commons license.