Smoothing Over Calluses: Why DPMs Are Calling On Callex

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By Robi Garthwait, Contributing Editor

The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Add in exercise, poor-fitting shoes and possible diabetes-related complications, and it is no wonder that 5 percent of the United States population have corns or calluses. With this in mind, Xenna Corporation introduced the Callex ointment earlier this year. The acid-free ointment uses natural plant enzymes to exfoliate hyperkeratotic tissue. Those who have used the product cite ease of use, quick results and overall effectiveness wherever dry, thickened skin is a problem. There are a number of reasons why calluses arise, says Bruce Bitcover, DPM, who has a practice in Lawrenceville, N.J. These include, “normal atrophy of the skin through genetics or aging, wearing poorly-fabricated or ill-fitting shoes, or as a result of scarring.” “Calluses are more likely to occur in active individuals,” adds Martin Harris, DPM, who is affiliated with the Wound Care Center at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Mass. “Increased activity generates greater shearing forces on the foot which contribute to callus formation.” In addition, he notes “many long-term diabetic patients have neuropathy, which doesn’t allow them to adequately feel the increased friction and pressure.” How Untreated Calluses Can Lead To Further Problems The Callex ointment specifically targets calluses and dried, cracked skin, both of which can cause problems if left untreated. “In rare cases, calluses can break down the subcutaneous and fascial layers, producing an ulcer,” states Dr. Bitcover. Dr. Harris also points out the possible ramifications of cracked skin. “I tell my patients that nothing good can occur when you have a break in the skin,” notes Dr. Harris, who is board-certified in foot and ankle surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. “The skin provides a barrier to the environment. When this is compromised, infection can occur. This becomes a bigger problem in our diabetic patients.” Endoprotease Targets Protein Chains Of Callus Tissue “Different products exist to treat calluses in different ways,” notes Dr. Bitcover. “These include rehydration of the skin, exfoliating agents to promote sloughing of callus, and paddings, shields and shoe inserts to protect against mechanical rubbing. Callex ointment uses two of these methods. It moisturizes the skin using petrolatum and exfoliates and softens callus with natural enzymes.” According to Xenna, the active ingredient in Callex ointment is an endoprotease that breaks the 10-end peptide bonds on the protein chains of callus tissue. Normal skin is unaffected by contact with the ointment because such skin lacks these long-chain proteins. The ointment does not contain parabens, lanolin or colorants and the company states it is safe for patients with diabetes, the elderly and those with compromised neuropathic and circulatory systems. Patients apply Callex daily to affected areas and Xenna says they can expect results within five to 20 days. ‘A Valuable Tool’ Dr. Harris has experienced success using the ointment in his Plainville, Mass., practice. “I started using it in my office when one of my office staff used samples and was very impressed. She had dry, cracked heels, which had gotten worse in the past few years. I had her try a few different prescription and non-prescription products with limited success. “The Callex ointment was far and away the most effective for her.” Dr. Bitcover concurs. “I have not seen any negatives with the use of Callex. Patients like it and I recommend it for use anywhere on the feet where thickened skin exists.”

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