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Foot Health: Do you feel like you’re walking on glass? You might have a deep callus

By Dr. Sarah Voelkel
KyForward columnist

Many of our patients come in with calluses on their feet, some painful and some nonpainful. But one specific type of callus that causes significant pain – a feeling of walking on glass – is called a porokeratosis.

1 foot

There are many forms of porokeratosis, but what we commonly see is a callus lesion with a core that extends deeper than the superficial skin layer. This deep extension causes increased pain, and it only gets bigger and more painful with time.

This type of skin lesion is commonly mistaken for a wart.

The cause of these lesions is not fully known, but have been associated with excessively sweaty feet and chronic pressure points on the bottom of the feet.

Treatment includes debridement of the lesion in the office, which involves removal of the deep core. Topical medications are then applied to help remove the lesion and medicines to apply at home to dry up the lesion and slough off the dry skin.

The underlying condition leading to the development of the lesion should be addressed as well. This can include treating the sweaty foot condition or addressing excessive pressure points of the feet.

Remember, pain in your feet is not normal. It’s your body’s way of telling you something could be wrong. Visit your podiatrist at the first sign of trouble to avoid continued pain and grief.


Dr. Sarah Voelkel is a foot and ankle surgeon at Lexington Podiatry and the Kentucky Heel Pain Center.

For more Foot Health columns, click here.

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  1. Stacey Reese says:

    My feet constantly feel like I’m stepping on glass I soak them and use. A callus remover but pain is getting worse

  2. Kaylee says:

    It’s like everytime I walk I get a shard pain as if there’s glass stuck in my foot, god it hurts

  3. Shantelle says:

    Get a safety pin burn it in dig it out

  4. Kaylee says:

    Shantelle, I tried what u said but it’s been 3 months of recovery for me since I dug in there with the safety pin. I made a huge hole around the callous to get it out but now it seems the callous grew back bigger to fill in the hole and it’s keepig me up at night, what do I do with no health insurance from home

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