Calluses are hard, rough areas of skin, and a plantar (heel) callus is a callus on the bottom of the foot, where the heel bone connects to the toes. The skin forming the callus can be gray or yellowish in appearance, dry, hard, painful and flaky. Plantar calluses can occur due to bone deformities, improperly fitting shoes or slipping socks that place pressure on areas of the feet that are not used to extreme amounts of stress.
In most cases, heel calluses can be treated without surgery. One common approach is to visit a doctor or foot specialist, who will trim away the thick skin with a scalpel. The area may then be dressed with a patch or topical solution that contains 40% salicylic acid. These types of patches and creams will need to be reapplied daily after removing the dead skin with a metal file or pumice stone. In extreme cases where problematic bone structure is causing plantar calluses, a surgical procedure may be performed to realign the bones in the feet.
Heel fissures (cracked skin on the heels) can be painful, and can cause bleeding. While skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can lead to heel fissures, they often result from sill-fitting shoewear, such as open-backed sandals or shoes that allow more slippage around the heel while walking, causing the skin to thicken as a result of excess friction. Wearing proper shoes and the use of deep skin moisturisers and lotions can reduce the dryness associated with the condition and allow the foot to heal.