Your humble pinky toe is an unsung hero. Thanks to it, you know where the next unstable inch of ground lurks.
(Or if that step from the cab is too far after six Mojitos)
But what do you do as a way of thanks? You clamp, pinch and crush it all day long.
Yet, like a fairground fighter, it takes its licks. It recovers in silence and does the same the next day. And the one after.
Sometimes, though, those bouts take their toll. Instead of a slur and thick ears, you get callus and pain on your pinky toe.
Callus on Pinky Toe
It's tough to find Barry Manilow fans these days, lord knows I've tried.
Anyways, in the timeless classic Copacabana, King Barry crooned:
"Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl.
But that was thirty years ago when they used to have a show.
Now it's a disco, but not for Lola"
I sometimes envisage Lola. Sat on the bar stool, she stares at the dance floor wistfully, now with a pinky toe callus. And probably bunions.
But how did Lola get here?
Big Foot Slippers And Frenemies
A frenemy is a close acquaintance, but at the same time an enemy. It sums up foot callus perfectly.
The truth is you need callus — it protects you.
When your body senses undue friction, you grow extra millimeters of skin. This is to protect the tantalizing flesh underneath.
If we didn't have hard skin callus, we'd have feet covered in Band-Aids.
We'd walk around 24/7 in those Sasquatch feet novelty slippers.
But too much callus is bad. At its worst, it can hurt when it splits or turns into foot corns.
So what is this strange medical phenomenon — one that both haunts and protects us?
Pinky Toe Callus Symptoms (And Charles Darwin)
Callus on your little toe isn't some exotic species.
Charles Darwin didn't make drawings of it (sat on a boulder) in the Galapagos Islands.
It's the same as hard skin on your heel or anywhere else on your foot.
The most obvious sign is that tell-tale yellow, dry scuff of skin.
Remember: this is a few microns thicker than normal. But in the Land of Tight Shoes, that matters.
It means you'll get a hike-style nagging chafe and burn. Long before that though you'll get an enlarged, sore oval of red skin.
This is screaming to you: "The rub is overspilling".
Crimped Skin: Pinky Toe Pinch Callus
Ah, yes pinky toe pinch callus. I may have to retract that Darwin comment because pinch callus is something of a rare beast.
(Not really, but it's less common compared to a callus on the side of your little toe)
Pinch callus is a ridge of crimped callus that runs on the underside of your little toe.
The big difference with a pinch callus is it's born from a pinky-toe that rides under its neighbor.
But its cause is still tight shoes and it's still yellow callus.
Ok, cool, so you've got that it's hard skin. And you understand it's a protective friction mechanism.
Busy Bedsheets (And Other Pinky Toe Callus Causes)
This is the easiest Podiatry answer of all time.
There's practically no other cause of pinky toe callus other than "your shoes".
Or, to be more accurate, "your tight shoes" and by that, I mean high heels.
You don't get the thick yellow skin from your bed covers. Unless you spend an inordinate amount of time rubbing up and down them.
(Right, I'm not going there)
The Good Thing About Callus on Pinky Toe
Remember I said the early bird sign of pinky callus is a sore red toe?
That's because your skin here is thin. As its name suggests, it's also a rather small area.
This, btw, is a good thing.
It means that there's not enough deep skin layers to form chunky cracked mustard skin.
This also means you don't have to do a great deal to get for removal.
The Bad Thing About Callus on Pinky Toe
If you ignore your little toe callus, it may disappear.
But that's only if you've ditched the tight shoes causing it.
If you keep wearing guilty footwear, it may ever so slowly get worse. Or, it may tap out at an oval patch of rough straw-colored skin.
On the other foot, it could develop into a pinky-toe hard corn. Or spread down your little toe and mesh with an accessory toenail.
But why take the chance? Why roll the skin friction dice? It's easy to home-cure callus on your pinky toe.
Wide Shoes or Cream: How to Cure Pinky Toe Callus
It's very rare I see a patient in outright agony at pinky toe callus.
These cases are almost always when they've put it off too long — and it's morphed into a hard corn.
In other words: pinky toe callus is easy to cure. For this you have two options.
The first one is to drop or limit your most aggravating shoes. Prevention is better than cure, remember.
If this doesn't work then all you need is an emery board and the right cream.
Miracle Foot Cream: The Big Podiatrist Conspiracy
This isn't some big secret held by Podiatrists in a big conspiracy.
You need a foot cream with urea as an ingredient.
Cocoa butter and Nivea don't cut it. All these body slathers do is make your little toe shine for a few hours. They're chemically incapable of penetrating the thick protective layers of hard skin.
You'll feel better for a few minutes after massaging your little toe. Then, they'll dry and dust off.
A foot cream with urea gets in and smooths it out.
It allows the (what was) hard skin to flex and adapt and soak back in.
(I use Gehwol Mint or Blue)
Women (Have Worse Feet Than Men)