Some people go most of their lives without ever worrying about the bottoms of their feet unless they step on something sharp. Then they have to look at their feet to remove glass, nails, staples, etc. However, you should be looking at your feet more often. They are responsible for your mobility, and foot care is vital to your continued mobility. In particular, you should know how to identify really thick callouses on your heels, their causes, and what to do about them.
Identifying Foot Callouses
Foot callouses, especially those on the heel and big toe, often grow really thick. They may be whitish gray or yellow in color. They will also be very hard, buckle in ridges when squeezed, and/or crack easily, making your heels look like deserts. They can get up to a half-inch thick or more, causing your heels to look like they are growing extra flesh. In reality, thick callouses are just a continuous build-up of dead skin cells that are not sloughed off because feet are inside socks and shoes all the time. Additionally, you can poke callouses with a needle and not feel anything because of the nature of callous formation.
Causes of Thick Callouses
Thick callouses can be the result of diabetes, but most of the time they are a naturally occurring issue. Spending too much time barefoot and walking on hard surfaces is one cause. Wearing ill-fitting dress or casual shoes and tight socks are another cause. You really have to find a happy medium between being going barefoot all the time and wearing socks and shoes all day.
Neglecting foot care is another cause. As any foot specialist will tell you, you should be washing your feet several times a week, and then using a towel or callous removal tool to roughly remove layers of dead skin while the heels and feet are still softened from bathing. Since this is typically a part of the body most people do not bother washing and do not spend ten to fifteen minutes on with rubbing off dead skin, the dead skin layers just build and build until the dead skin begins to crack and peel.
What to Do About It
You can see a foot specialist to have the callouses shaved. However, you will either have to continue regular foot care each week at home, or return monthly to have the callouses shaved. If you want to take care of callouses at home, lotions and "heel balms" can soften the callouses enough to remove them.