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What do the callouses on my feet say about my sports injury?

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Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

Even by looking at someone’s callouses on their feet we can begin to make an assessment why and where the patient is injured somewhere higher in the body. For example, runners that have an excess of callousing along the entire ball of the foot tells us that they are putting an excessive amount of force their. Like pressing on a gas pedal, we can deduct that the athlete is using alot of their calf muscles to generate movement and power. It is possible to make assumptions that calf cramps, achilles tendinitis and shin splints occur due to the increased stresses at the ball of the foot.

Another example are bunions along the first toe. What that indicates is an excessive force on the medial or inside of the foot. Like a rudder, if the foot turns inward when you step through it, the knee and hip will follow that line of force causing increased stresses along the inside of the leg. Commonly we see people with bunions have some type of medial knee or patellar pain as well as hip or back pain as the foot is not adequate in absorbing shock causing increased forces into the joints above. If you’re not sure what the callouses on your feet mean in terms of your overall sports performance, we recommend that you contact a qualified Physical Therapist that understands the relationship of your foot to the rest of your mechanics.

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