Hard foot skin and calluses are already annoying enough, but now there’s a new reason to be concerned with the thickening of your soles: scientists have linked calluses with cancer.
According to new research, some calluses aren’t causes by shoe rubbing and other skin irritation, but rather by an inherited form of oesophageal cancer.
Academics from Queen Mary University of London found that the type of cancer, called Tylosis, causes thickening of the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. And in extreme cases, patients are forced to shave off several layers of the hard skin with a razor to keep the thickening under control.
How Tylosis Cancer Causes Calluses
The scientists found that the gene behind the disease Tylosis, iRHOM2, affects the body’s production of keratin (one of the most abundant components of the skin), which can lead to skin thickening. Other symptoms of oesophageal cancer — which currently affects thousands of people in the US and Europe — include difficulty swallowing, pain or discomfort in your back and stomach, persistent or frequent heartburn, loss of appetite, weight loss and vomiting.
It’s important to note, however, that not all hand and foot calluses are symptoms of cancer. For more information about what causes most calluses and how you can safely smooth away the hard skin, check out our Wiki article on calluses.