Ouch! Treat (and Prevent) Blisters and Calluses on Your Feet

Our feet sure take a beating during the summertime from less-than-supportive sandals, going barefoot at the beach, and from all that extra running and walking we do between summer sports, vacations, and outdoor activities. Stop blisters and calluses before they form and treat any you've already got with these simple tips. Related: How to Cure Athlete's Foot

Blisters:
Since some blisters get so uncomfortable they can prevent you from even slipping on your shoes, you can pop them-the right way-if you need to. "If the blister is intact, sanitize a needle with alcohol, then pop the blister along its edge to let the fluid out," says Chappaqua, NY, dermatologist Lydia Evans. Don't peel off the skin though, she warns. If it has already been torn open, apply an antibiotic ointment like Polysporin to prevent an infection, then cover it with a bandage. Reduce the shoe-on-skin rubbing that creates a blister by sprinkling your feet with a foot powder to keep them from sweating, says Dr. Evans. Related: 52 Quick and Simple Ways to Beat Stress

Calluses:
Tough, unsightly calluses are usually not a problem. But if a blister forms underneath or if calluses become too thick and crack, they can be painful. Calluses that develop a thick center are called corns and usually develop on toes, where they are particularly tender. Related: How to Make Your Pedicure Last

How to Treat Them:

  • If you get hard calluses on your feet, use a pumice stone regularly after showering or soaking your feet in warm water, and apply a thick moisturizer daily.
  • If they are painful or bothersome, a podiatrist can trim down the thickened area with a blade (never cut a callus yourself), prescribe a cream or ointment, and help identify and correct what may be causing them.
  • Besides wearing properly fitting shoes, you may be advised to use shoe inserts, especially if you have an underlying foot problem.
  • If you have diabetes or a nerve or circulatory problem that affects your feet, seek medical attention for problem calluses.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.