Debridement and Callus Foot Tissue

Debridement is a method for ridding the foot of callus foot tissue.  This callus tissue can include foot tissue with scales, foot tissue with fissures (cracked heels, etc.), corns, foot tissue with lesions (foot ulcers), keratinized tissue, tyloma, kyperkeratosis or any other hardened or excessively thick foot tissue.  Debridement can be used to remove dead tissue, damaged tissue, or infected tissue (as in the case of a foot ulcer).  Sometimes a podiatrist will remove the callus tissue using a scalpel or manual cutting tool.  Other times the podiatrist will use a drill-like instrument that gently buffs the dead or damaged skin away.  

When debriding callus foot tissue extra care must be used to ensure that the damaged or infected skin does not tear or start to hemorrhage.  This is especially true in patients who have diabetes and are prone to foot ulceration.  The debridement of callus tissue on the feet can be attempted at home using a pumice stone or set of nail scissors to gently trim the hardened tissue.  Debridement should not be attempted at home if the callus tissue is unusually infected or if it the tissue starts to hemorrhage.  Debridement should never be attempted at home by people with diabetic foot or people with lymphedema (a condition that causes the foot to swell due to blockages in the lymph system).

Sometimes podiatrists choose to apply a chemical peel to callus foot tissue.  This chemical peel is designed to soften the callus foot tissue before the surgical process of debridement.  Callus tissue on the foot tends to be harder and thicker than callus tissue on other parts of the body.  The chemical peel, therefore, should be specifically designed to soften the callus tissue of the foot.  

After the chemical peel, the callus tissue is normally removed using a powered instrument with a “burr” that scrapes away the dead or damaged tissue.  The entire process can take as little as twenty minutes.  While debridement techniques tend to be feared as a painful process, they can be performed with the patient feeling little to no physical pain or discomfort.  

The callus foot tissue should continue to receive extra care once the patient has returned home.  Very little stress should be put on the affected areas for the next couple of days.  Avoid adhesive bandages and pads that may further injure the foot upon their removal.  Where soft shoes and socks without seams to avoid unnecessary friction on your feet.  Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes that will not only allow your feet to heal but also reduce the chance of corns, scaled tissue, fissured tissue, lesions or any other callus foot tissue forming in the future.