pinch callus cover image

Pinch Callus Happen Mostly Because of This Reason

Your feet are one of the most enduring parts of your body, constantly taking on the rough elements of the world. Feet are exposed to the dirty surface, cramped in the tight and sweaty lockup of your shoes, and hardly get any care. And all these results in the formation of pinch callus on the feet.

Pinch callus is hardened papules that almost always form on the soles of our feet. Most of the time, these calluses are ignored and they heal soon after. But a regular appearance of pinch callus might be indicative of some issue.

Why Pinch Calluses occur?

Our body has a defense mechanism that prevents the damage of organs. So when there is constant friction on some part of the skin, the body has a way of preventing the damage, since it cannot remove the source of friction. 

The area which is exposed to friction gets a thickened layer of dead skin cells. This thick layer can take the friction and absorb it, protecting the delicate skin underneath. 

Since feet are always exposed to the floor or are in contact with the surface, they are the best candidate for a callus appearance site. But people who use their hands for physical work or menial jobs or even exercise (pull-ups and deadlifts without proper gear) also find pinch calluses on their hands. 

Is pinch callus dangerous 

Pinch calluses are surely not dangerous. They are just an overgrowth of skin to make the surface hard and resistive of the friction that is being applied there. It is a way of protecting your body.

But there are a few caveats that must be kept in mind before you ignore your pinch callus that appeared for the fifth time.

Pinch callus occurring too often 

Pinch calluses are benign and should not warrant concern. However, if pinch calluses appear ever so often, this might be a cause of concern. Not because the pinch calluses are a threat, but because what’s causing them might be. 

The most common reason why pinch calluses appear on the feet is ill-fitting shoes. Shoes with smaller shoe-box, poor padding, rough mid-sole, or material can cause friction. 

Another cause of pinch callus is wearing shoes without socks or wearing shoes too often. Let those feet breathe for a while, get in something comfy.

If pinch calluses occur in places where there’s no detectable source of friction, such as between toes and middle of the sole. This means that there is some issue with the biomechanics. 

What’s biomechanics?

Sometimes due to bad posture, bone deficiency, etc can hinder the way people walk. Posture problems such as scoliosis or anterior pelvic curve always affect the walking pattern. 

These conditions tend to cause friction on the places of feet where there’s supposed to be none. The most common site for such conditions is between toes. 

Visiting a podiatrist can help in assessing treatment to solve the issue.

illustration of a pinch callus
What a pinch callus really is

Are pinch calluses painful?

Most of the time, pinch calluses are not painful. Have you noticed that the sole of your feet are thicker than normal skin? This is a form of a callus where the entire sole is covered with a thick layer of dead skin cells. 

But sometimes, due to poor-fitting shoes, pinch calluses may appear on the soft, gentle skin on the foot. This is usually on the edge of the ventral (upper) side of the foot. 

This results in a papule that is filled with fluid (which is plasma). The papule is not painful, but if it bursts, it exposes the tender skin underneath. That skin is prone to pain.

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Do pinch calluses occur anywhere else? 

Pinch calluses are also known as hyperkeratosis. The name has two parts, hyper, and keratosis. Hyper means excessive and keratosis is the procedure of hardening the skin layer due to friction.

Keratosis is because of the production of keratin. Keratin is also the protein that forms our hair and nails. But is there any other place in our body where we see keratosis or calluses? 

Calluses are termed as such because they form on the hard surface of the body such as soles of the feet and palm of our hands. But keratosis occurs in many other parts.

The process of forming keratin on the skin or any other surface is initiated by a constant source of friction due to some rough or hard surface. We see that in our mouths which are filled with teeth. 

places where pinch calluses occur; hands, feet, mouth

Many times wisdom teeth rub against the inner cheeks and gums, creating a whitish/grayish patch of dead skin cells. This is keratosis, also called alveolar ridge keratosis. 

Keratosis also occurs in the mouth when it has dentures or any other metal fixed. Usually, it is due to poorly fitting dentures. 

So this was all about the relevant information about pinch calluses. Remember that they are not dangerous in itself, but if they appear too often, you need to check on some habits. 

How to treat pinch callus?

Pinch calluses are harmless and go away once the source of friction has been removed. It is advised that one should avoid touching the callus or try to remove it by force. This might lead to infection. So the best treatment would be to get rid of ill-fitting shoes or any other source of friction on the skin. 

If the callus does not go after 2-3 weeks of the removal of irritants, then you might wanna consult a doctor. However, most of the cases see the pinch callus fading away after 3-4 days.

Pinch calluses that hurt may have plasma oozed into them, resulting in pain. However, if the pain is very high, it is recommended that you get it checked by a doctor. Most of the pinch calluses are painless.

This was all about pinch calluses, their origin, their tenure, and their departure from our bodies. In summary;

  • Pinch calluses usually form on the surface of feet and palm. 
  • They are caused by a recurring source of friction.
  • Most calluses are painless, but some might retain fluid in and cause little pain. 
  • Ill-fitting shoes are the most common cause, but sometimes posture can play a major role in recurring calluses. 
  • Pinch calluses usually go away on their own after the source of friction is removed, but some may persist for weeks. 
  • If there’s pain, or the callus does not go away after 4-6 weeks, one should consult a doctor.

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