Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

I'm starting to form calluses on the bottom of my right foot (in the middle of the ball of my foot). I'm wondering if it's from the shoes I'm wearing. They are fashionable but not very supportive. What should I look for in a shoe that might help this problem?

Answer:

Calluses form on the bottom of the foot when there is excess pressure on the bones inside the foot at that spot. Shoe correction is often the first step in correcting the problem. The goal is to find a shoe that fits correctly and helps distribute pressure evenly across the ball of the foot. The first thing to look for in a good shoe is a wide toe box (where your toes are in the shoe). Many of today's fashions still dictate a shoe with a narrow box and pointed toe. That can get you in trouble as the toes are all pressed together inside the toe box. With no room to spread, the pressure during weight bearing gets directed to one area. Calluses develop to help cushion the foot where there is too much pressure or load. You'll need a shoe with a toe box long enough as well as wide enough. A soft sole and low heel (one-half inch up to one inch) are important. Look for a shoe that has an arch support that matches the placement and heighth of your natural arch. Depending on the cause of your problem, you may need some shoe modifications that are specific to your foot. An orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist, or physical therapist can help you with this. If changing your shoe wear does not solve the problem quickly, don't wait to get an expert's help. Early intervention can help prevent worse problems later. Norman Espinosa, MD, et al. Metatarsalgia. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. August 2010. Vol. 18. No. 8. Pp. 474-485.

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