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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

    • Isla says:

      I had the same problem a few years ago. I ended up with 5 of them!! Digging out the core made it worse for me. In the end I used Salicylic acid for warts every morning & night for a few weeks and also duct taped over them. After a week or 2 they stopped hurting and after a while I managed to squeeze the whole thing out.

  5. Rodger says:

    Stepped on a glass 8 or so months ago , heard a crunch and then pain . I’ve dug out nails , thorns , splinters and glass before . This time was definitely different! Thought all glass was dug out ,put band aid and waited for a week or so . Still fills like glass in my foot. My wife did her thing and low and behold more glass , I said great now I’m gonna heal! Week later still fills like glass. In time and months my oldest son , my youngest son and my daughter alone with me digging into what still fills like glass . Bare foot now it’s impossible to walk on . It’s so sore it keeps me up at night. Dermitoligist dug at it , it began to bleed she thought it looked like a wart. I’m off now to a podiatrist.

    • Cecilia lenton says:

      I have this little hole deep under the skin in the bottom of my foot I don’t know why it happened but it only hurts when I specially put pressure on the part of my foot it’s on and it happens to be below but in the middle of my pinkie toe and the one next to it don’t know if it’s the deep callous lesion and I should see a doctor or what could really use some insight

  6. claudia stockwell says:

    why cant I get a answer about my feet instead of you all trying to sell something …..no help at all why do I bother to have a dam computer

  7. claudia stockwell says:

    how come you cant replay to me

  8. claudia stockwell says:

    I pay for this got to be kidding me so sad ……..not worth the trouble and B>S.

  9. Barb smith says:

    The bottom of my heel feels like glass to the touch

  10. Susan Hay says:

    Top end of my foot

  11. Susan Hay says:

    Ot lik6 a sharp thing in it but got nufing in it it been like it for weeks

  12. Andrea Sokash says:

    I was diagnosed with a Planters wart a few years back. It always came back. Original doctor thought something was inside the deep callous on bottom of my foot pad, where I put pressure on when I walk or stand! A wart would have gone away by now! He gave me shots of novacaine to explore more deeply! Blue glass tiny pieces he joyfully pulled out! This enduring annoyance is now gone, and will be soaking the foot in Epson salts for a few days!

  13. J.R. Martinez says:

    A few years ago I stepped on glass it hurt like heck I pulled it out went to bed two weeks later I could not take the pain of my foot I got a box cutter and slit my wound three ways and a piece of glass popped out I was so relieved of the pain and about a week later it began to hurt again I tried to do the box cutter again but this time it did not work and bled a lot and being a stubborn man that I am I tufted it out for over 3 year now But I’m tired of feeling the pain and would like to know where to go to get it looked at.

  14. Zahra says:

    My mother just cut up garlic and taped it to my foot and it worked, but it came back a few months later but in different spots. i think i should use the garlic again. You should try it too, it might help.

  15. Carlis Irvin says:

    I’ve been thinking I got glass in both feet. My pain from 1 to 10 is a 10 plus I’ve put on a lot of weight I think my weight gain is due to ne not getting around like I should. This in the office surgery will they knock me out. I’m a chicken when it comes to being cut on

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