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Callus forming between toes

Original Post
Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 75

I seem to be experiencing a callus that forms on my pinky toe, on the *inside*, facing the next toe over. It makes my pinky toe stick out, causing amazing discomfort, bruising, and swelling of my little toe. I can't currently fit my wide toebox running shoes on my feet, let alone rock shoes.

Anyone else experience this? Are there things I can do to prevent it? Is this perhaps a sign of something else wrong?

Rprops · · North Las Vegas · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 537

Tape or band aid the little piggy. Works for me.

Tom-onator · · trollfreesociety · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 790

I had a similar problem on my left pinkie toe several years ago that was caused by moisture and fallen arches.

Use Dr Scholls corn remover pads until the skin in the area turns completely white and the corn sloughs off. I picked at mine relentlessly for weeks between treatments to remove the dead skin.

I had to change all my socks to thinner, breathable cotton-poly blends to help wick away the moisture. I wore leather goretex boots to work in all day and had to change my boots to a lighter style that breathes better.

My arches fell from 20+ years of wearing a toolbelt as a sheet metal worker. This however can happen to anyone for multiple reasons. When your arches fall your toes get smooshed together and the rubbing, along with the moisture, will cause the corns to form.

The goodfeet store can help with custom fitted orthotics for around $300. There are other options from a podiatrist but look at spending much more.

I chose the 300 dollar option, along with wide toe box shoes and moisture control, and haven't had any recurring issues with corns.

Good luck!

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

I have something called a "soft corn" by my doctor. It's in between two toes. Sort of like a semi-hard blister that pops up when my feet are hot (only on warm days, then the corn takes several days to subside) inside the climbing shoe. It's painful when the toes are squeezed together inside the shoe.

It's a recurring issue that is best alleviated by padding between the toes. The doctor said it could be cut out, but would probably come back. The corn remover formulas didn't work for me.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 75

My arches are tip-top, but my feet do get brutalized: when not being squeezed into climbing shoes, their put into fairly narrow cycling shoes, or just pounded on trail runs, with that (perfect!, I might add,) forefoot strike.

Last night, I soaked the foot in ice water to try to bring some swelling down, and applied a liberal amount of callus remover. This morning I washed things up, and starting hacking away at the whitened callus. I'll spare the details. It's MUCH better, but a touch sensitive, and still a bit swollen/pissed. Rock shoes are not going on any time soon, but I'm up to wide toe boxed trail runners. Lots of cleaning with soap, alchohol, and HO; then application of Neosporin, until the minor nicks are gone, the back to anti-fungal gunk.

What it really looks like, is a toe ulcer (don't google that), which is sometime associated with having diabetes. That gave me a good scare... but it also happens with toes infected with Athletes Foot which, hands up (or feet?) I def. have a case of. Hopefully there's no internal infection, and it's just the outer skin that's pissed. Leaving for EPC in < week so.... F.

And also be careful with using callus remover, it's really good at removing toenail as well! the toenail on this pinky is more harm than good, so I was somewhat happy with the results (and I may have nudged it along un-accidentally), but it sure looks weird.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

When none of the home remedies work, you could see a podiatrist.

Thomas Beck · · Las Vegas, Nevada · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,040

Speaking conservatively, probably over 25,000 hours stuffed into climbing shoes and my feet and toes are a mess.

In my experience you experiment with different splints, tapings, pieces of thick moleskin, several styles of cornpads and climbing tape plus those foam toe sleeves to find a regimen which works. Unfortunately as long as you pursue your passion this is not going to go away but it is in my experience controllable.

I found for callus control a piece of 80 or 100 grit sanding belt works fine and removal is more controllable than a callus removal solution. I'll sand wet or dry.

At one point I had a ruptured second toe tendon which caused the phalanges to push my metatarsal bone down and that was painful. A callus formed over the metatarsal which made it more painful. I sanded to control the callus. Eventuality I put down climbing till I could afford the surgery and down time.

This sanding belt also works on finger calluses when you skin begins to peel after protracted days of climbing followed by a lay off.

A callus between your toes is more likely a soft corn, though it may have started as a callus being formed. Getting a tiny piece of grit or even a skin shard there and your body begins to form a corn to protect the area. I've got a small bone spur on the inside of a big toe and if left unprotected the inside of my second toe will form a soft corn exactly symmetrical to the spur. Once formed it's a bitch to get rid of.

Some kind of cuticle trimmer is my "go to" tool for addressing corn trimming and toe tip calluses. I'll soak my feet in hot water with some liquid detergent for 20 minutes or so to soften the skin. I have different trimmers for toenails.

Keeping the feet clean and especially the between toes area clean and dry helps. When not in mission specific shoes or boots my feet live in some model of sandal.

Addressing your specific problem I'd place a small corn pad between your 4th and 5th toe and tape the toes together. I'd try to mimic how my toes lay when there in the shoes; sometimes where you need to place the pad relief is not where you first think it should go.

cuticle trimmer

One style of corn cushion which works between toes. Don't add the corn remover pad unless you are trying to get rid of a corn.

Toes tubes. These are expensive. There less costly generic ones
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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