People who have light-colored skin, are over the age of 60, or tend to sunburn easily are at a high risk of developing hyperkeratosis. At Yeargain Foot & Ankle, our medical team applies specific medical treatments best suited to your condition.
Our foot and ankle specialists evaluate each patient’s condition and determine the potential causes of these foot lesions. In addition, we also provide patients with at-home treatments that can help prevent hyperkeratosis from coming back.
Learn about symptoms, causes and treatments for hyperkeratosis and what you can do to prevent them.
What is Hyperkeratosis?
Hyperkeratosis is a painful thickening of the outer layer of skin. This outer layer contains a tough, protective protein called Keratin. This skin becomes thicker as the body’s response to increased rubbing, pressure and irritation. This thickening of the skin causes calluses and corns on the feet which may be very painful.
What Causes Hyperkeratosis?
Hyperkeratosis, or corns and calluses are caused by increased pressure or friction to the skin. This may be due to increased activity, such as working long hours on the feet, especially on hard surfaces. Poor shoe gear may also contribute to this condition. Lack of support or cushion in the shoes can lead to increased pressure on the feet. Walking around the house with bare feet, socks, or even an older pair of house shoes may make this worse. Tight fitting dress shoes with narrow toe box and rigid materials can also lead to increased pressure and hyperkeratosis. Sometimes people also may have a bony deformity such as a bunion or hammertoe that causes increased pressure especially in shoes.
What are the Symptoms of Hyperkeratosis?
Typically Hyperkeratosis presents as hardened skin on the bottom of the feet or around the toes. The skin may also develop a yellowish or white color. Sometimes you may see some purplish bruising under the callous which could mean that a blood blister has developed under the lesion. This is typically much more painful. There is typically dryness and a rough texture present around the hyperkeratosis.
What’s the Treatment for Hyperkeratosis?
At YF&A Hyperkeratosis is typically treated using mechanical debridement. This involves shaving away layers of the skin around the callus using a scalpel or rotary file until the thickness is decreased closer to your normal skin depth. This will reduce pressure when you are walking or wearing shoes and pressure is applied to the area. This has been described by patients as feeling like a rock has been removed from your shoe and can provide almost instant relief if done properly by a trained foot and ankle specialist.
In addition to debridement or shaving, we at YF&A commonly use a technique called chemical hyfrecation to remove these lesions more permanently. This involves the doctor applying an acid medication to the lesion with an occlusive bandage. We also commonly send the patient home with a specialty foot cream that is a combination of moisturizer and milder acid which helps to gradually reduce the thickness of the skin lesion and also prevent it from coming back in the future.
Can Hyperkeratosis be Cured?
HPKs can be treated by a foot and ankle specialist. Dr. Yeargain and Dr. Agyen successfully treat these every day. An important aspect to trying to prevent them from coming back in the future, is to evaluate the underlying cause of the lesion. Many times these occur at locations on the foot that have increased pressure due to bony alignment, or muscle and tendon imbalances. We will work with you to determine not only your condition and the treatment plan, but also how to treat the underlying cause. Many times this includes stretching exercises or even custom orthotics to offload the pressure area. We will have you feeling pain free and ready to get back to the things you love.
When to call a Professional?
There are many OTC products available for skin lesions, but we have seen patients over the years try and fail with these products on their own and some can even be dangerous and cause burning or blistering of the skin and potential for infection. If you have a painful callus or corn, call a foot and ankle specialist such as YF&A right away!
Specialized Treatment with a Dallas Foot and Ankle Doctor
At Yeargain Foot & Ankle, our specialists don’t just treat the related symptoms of hyperkeratosis, such as calluses, corns and chronic inflammation. Instead, our medical practitioners determine the cause of your condition while helping to alleviate the pain, blistering or burning sensation you may be experiencing.
To book an appointment, call (972) 853-4886 or visit our contact page.