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What Are Callus Pads?

A.E. Freeman
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Callus pads provide protection against pressure and pain that may result when a person walks with a callus on his foot. Some callus pads also contain salicylic acid, which helps to dissolve the tough skin on the callus. If the pads do contain salicylic acid, a person needs to be careful using them, as the acid can damage parts of the skin that do not have calluses. Callus pads are usually made of a soft foam, felt, or silicone gel.

A callus usually forms on the bottom of the foot, particularly in areas where there is pressure between the foot and the ground. Most calluses do not hurt, but some do if they are exposed to friction or pressure. Typically, a person develops a callus on the foot from wearing shoes that are too tight or too big. Not wearing socks to protect the feet can also lead to calluses.

Pads for calluses vary in shape in size. Some are shaped like donuts so that the callus rests in the middle of the pad. The surrounding ring keeps pressure off of the callus. Others are U-shaped, which may help prevent calluses from growing larger. Some pads cover the entire callus as well as the surrounding area of the foot and act as cushioning for the ball of the foot.

Callus pads that contain salicylic acid do not have a cut-out for the callus in the center. Usually, medicated pads come in two pieces. One piece is a small disk that contains the salicylic acid. The other is a foam cushion that covers the callus and disk and the area around the foot. Although using salicylic acid to remove a callus may seem like a good idea, it can be dangerous.

Some callus pads are made of a rubber foam. People who are allergic to rubber and latex need to seek out a different material if they need to treat a callus. Other options include a flannel pad or pads made of felt. Gel pads may be made of silicone and are usually reusable.

People who have diabetes should always consult their doctor before using a medicated callus pad, as the salicylic acid can lead to infection or a sore. If the acid is applied to healthy skin, such as just next to the callus, injury and infection can result, even in an otherwise healthy person. If an over-the-counter salicylic acid and callus pad is not enough, a doctor can prescribe a higher strength.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A.E. Freeman
By A.E. Freeman
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and retention. With a background in the arts, she combines her writing prowess with best practices to deliver compelling content across various domains and effectively connect with target audiences.
Discussion Comments
By burcinc — On Sep 12, 2014

Callus pads are not just great for pain relief and support while walking when there is a callus, but they also help prevent calluses when worn regularly.

My feet are prone to calluses. It doesn't matter what shoe I wear, I always get them. So I use sponge type callus pads all the time. These are thick and made of sponge on the inside and nylon cloth on the outside. It attaches to my second toe and provides protection from friction for the ball of my feet. Walking is more comfortable and since there is less pressure and no friction, calluses are prevented. I love these and plan to use them indefinitely.

By turquoise — On Sep 12, 2014

@SteamLouis-- Yes, pharmacies usually carry them. You can also find them online but you will have to wait for delivery. Most brands actually call these callus cushions or foot cushions. Make sure to get one that's suitable for you. There are different ones out there with different shapes. They are made for different parts of the foot. For example, if the callus is in the ball of the foot, you will need a U-shaped or oval callus pad or cushion. There is usually a picture on the product explaining where it's meant to go.

By SteamLouis — On Sep 11, 2014

I didn't even know that callus pads exist. I have been struggling to walk for the past few days because of a painful callus. It is so frustrating. Are these pads available at all pharmacies? I will look for some tomorrow morning. I hope they help and bring me some relief from the pain.

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and...
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