Calloused hands and fingers can be a mark of pride in some cases. It shows you've been working hard in some way, whether it's a lot of heavy lifting, some intensive practise on a musical instrument, or even cooking a large amount of food (where your grip on the knife has resulted in a small callus). Calloused feet are not such a cause of pride, and sometimes feet can become calloused with what you would consider normal activity. Calluses form from repeated friction, and with the hard skin on your feet, a callus is essentially a large patch of dead skin. They can be uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, but are entirely preventable. So how do you stop these annoyances from forming?
Calluses and Flat Feet
Most foot calluses form on the heel and the edges of the feet, but a callus on the base of the foot (known as a plantar callus) is not uncommon either. If you have flat feet, you are more susceptible to all types of calluses. This is because your low arches cause you to walk in a different way to those who have more pronounced arches. This causes your feet to rub against your shoes in a far more vigorous way than most people. A hard shoe insert made by a podiatrist can remedy the problem, and it acts as a type of fake arch for your foot.
The Right Shoes
Regular wearing of certain types of rigid shoes can also cause calluses to form. High heeled shoes are a particularly bad offender. It's not as though you need to stop wearing these types of shoes, but it might be the case that you need to wear them less often. Wearing shoes without socks can also result in calluses. Try wearing high heeled shoes or rigid shoes less often and see if your calluses reduce in severity.
An Easy Cheat
If you need to wear a certain type of shoe for work, or if you simply like wearing them, there's an easy trick. Your local pharmacy (and some supermarkets) will sell callus band aids. Apply these to the portions of your foot that are more prone to calluses, and the band aid will absorb any friction.
For any existing calluses, you can file the skin down using an electric pedicure machine, which are widely available. These machines are generally only helpful for cosmetic purposes, and it might not be possible to remove significant calluses. If you have a callus that is causing problems, just schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. They can slice the dead skin off under a local anesthetic. It might sound unpleasant, but it doesn't hurt. Remember, the skin is already dead!
Calluses are more of an inconvenience than anything you really need to worry about, but it's an inconvenience you don't need to live with.