Callus Blow-Outs – First aid and Prevention

July 15, 2013

So it is the Friday before a big tournament and you are getting your last practice set in. You get a little deeper than you wanted off of ball 3. POP! The handle goes flying and you are sitting in the water watching the boat head down course. Since you are still pumped with adrenaline, you don’t really feel it (yet) but there is a little voice in the back of your head saying that something is not quite right with your hand.

You’ve been down this path before so you pretty much know what is going on before you actually see it. As the boat is idling back to you, you are pulling your glove off to assess the damage. Yes.. just what you thought.. and the timing couldn’t be better… You’ve blown a callus with no time to heal before your next tournament. What do you do now?

I do not know a slalom skier who has not torn a callus before. And anyone who has done this before, will tell you that just getting tap water on your hand will hurt for the next several days. And trying to slalom ski has just become nearly impossible, if not for lots of tape and nerves of steel.

One of my ski buddies, Peter G, is an anesthesiologist and he has told me of a unique solution to a blown callus that eliminates the pain involved in using your hand after such an injury. His solution will also allow you to get back behind the boat, pain free, in record time.

Peter's solution is to douse the blown callus with isopropyl alcohol. According to Peter, doing so will kill the nerves and allow the rest of your healing to take place without you noticing the injury as often as you would otherwise. As much as I trust Peter and his solution, I also know that in doing so you might end up in the fetal position saying words that you don’t want other people to hear you say.

Since learning of this treatment, thankfully I have not had an opportunity to test it. I have a solution to avoid this situation all together... I’ll get to that later… Since I have no personal experience with the remedy, I can only talk through the experience of others.

While practicing at Stillwater Lakes in Palm Bay Florida, Colten F had the unfortunate luck of blowing a callus the day before a big tournament. After doing so, he was looking at his hand and talking about taping up on Saturday, when I told him about Peter’s solution. Colten said “Game on"... So off he went to his house to get the isopropyl alcohol. I had my cell phone so I thought I’d record the experience in the form of digital images.

According to Colten “It only hurts for one lap around the house…” However, Colten has a big house so I’m not sure if this is of any conciliation.

The good news is when Colten finally got back from his jaunt around the house, we were able to put more alcohol on the injury site with considerably less pain. By the third application, he said that it no longer hurt.

The next day and during the tournament, Colton said he didn’t even notice that he had an injury on his hand.

My solution is a little less dramatic. I try my best to avoid blowing calluses. The best way that I know to do so is by keeping them shaved down. I’ve tried everything from X-Acto® Knifes to Dremel® drills with a sanding attachment. However, I’ve found that nothing works better than a callus/corn removal tool. This is the tool that medical and cosmetology professionals use to remove calluses and corns from patients’ feet.

Approximately 10 years ago, a co-worker bought me a German made Credo Callus/Corn removal tool (Thanks Susan!!!). I’ve been using it on a regular basis since then. I rarely have callus issues any more. Since getting my now antique version, they've made the tools a little more stylish because mine doesn't look like this but I'm sure it works just the same:

Corn Removal Tool

If you do a web search on “callus and corn removal tools” you will find several different brands and options to pick from.

Hopefully you can pick up one of these jewels before you blow a callus and need to do some laps around the house.

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