Hand Care 101: How to Treat and Manage Calluses

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Written by Danni Krumins

When you start working out and are doing any type of barbell exercise, exercises on the bar, or anything else using your hands and grip, you will notice calluses start to form. This is normal. Calluses develop in response to stress from the pressure and friction – they are protecting the structures underneath the skin. If calluses are not taken care of properly, they can turn into complete rips, which are painful and can really slow down your workout.

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Being a gymnast, I am no stranger to calluses and ripped hands, and have tried all kinds of ways to take care of calluses and help heal rips quickly.

  • Once calluses start to develop it is important to take care of them so they do not become too thick. If this happens, that is when they can catch and turn into complete rips. They best way to manage calluses is to file them down so that they are not elevated above the surrounding skin. My favorite tool that I have used for this is a Dr. Scholl’s Swedish Foot File. You can also use a pumice stone. You can use this on your hands in the shower, once they have been soaked in the warm water for a while.
  • If a callus does tear you want to make sure you are treating it properly so that it heals quickly and does not set back your training. You will first need to trim back the loose skin as closely as you can to the fresh skin. The best way to do this is using a clean pair of first aid scissors. DO NOT pull up on the loose skin because you will only make the rip larger. It is then best to keep the rip covered for a while to allow it to heal, it also doesn’t feel very good to have objects touching that raw skin. If a band aid doesn’t work you can try New Skin, which as a liquid band aid (however, I do not recommend putting this on freshly ripped skin). As the rip is healing I like to continue to apply moisturizes that promote healing, but also to not let the rip dry out. I currently use Quick Fix from RIPT Skin Systems, but have also used O’Keefe’s Working Hands or just regular Polysporin.
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Whether you consider them brag-worthy signs of your hard work or just annoying side effects of your workout, use these tips to care calluses’ and rips and keep your hands healthy!

*I am in no way associated with any of these products, they are just what I have chosen to use.

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