ZocdocAnswersWhat causes the skin around the feet to thicken?

Question

What causes the skin around the feet to thicken?

I'm a middle aged man and it seems as if the skin of my feet is just thickening and toughening excessively. I began running a while back, so at first I thought it was just a callousing effect, but now it looks like a runaway process. Why is this happening to me? How can I stop it?

Answer

Almost certainly, your recent increase in running is what is causing the thickening of the skin on your feet. Running produces significant stress on the skin and can cause 'runaway' callus formation. The ways to fix this include keeping your feet well moisturized after running and also to consider using a exfoliating foot treatment or pumice stone to keep the skin thickness down. You should also make sure that you are replacing your running shoes at the recommended interval, as loose fitting or worn down running shoes can make callus formation worse. You should also make sure that there is not something else going on. For example, many runners suffer from fungal infections of the feet, or athletes foot, characterized by itching, scaling, and thickening of the skin often with significant foot odor. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor or your podiatrist might be indicated.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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