What is a Callus and Corn?
If the pressure becomes concentrated in a small area, a ‘hard’ corn may develop. Sometimes the pressure of the corn or callus may produce inflammation which can result in acute pain, swelling and redness.
Sometimes ‘soft’ corns may form between the toes where the skin is moist from sweat or inadequate drying. These appear white and rubbery and are also caused by excessive friction. Corns and calluses are most often found on the balls of the feet or the tops of toes. They can also be found on heels and even along the sides of toenails.
What causes calluses and corns?
Calluses and corns are generally symptoms of underlying problems and in some cases, early warning signals of more complex foot disorders. Because they are caused by continuous pressure in one particular area, they may indicate abnormalities or deformity in bone structure or in the way a person walks. Often calluses and corns are caused by ill-fitting or inappropriate footwear.
Who gets calluses and corns?
In fact, calluses and corns affect more people than any other kind of foot problem. Some people have a natural tendency to develop calluses because of their skin type. For instance, elderly people have less fatty tissue and elasticity in their feet and because of a lack of padding, calluses may form on the bottom of the foot.
Also, people who work in occupations that require them to spend a lot of time on their feet are prone to developing calluses.
How to treat calluses and corns
The most important rule is to never attempt self-treatment without consulting a professional. Since calluses often result from underlying problems, it’s crucial to have a nurse examine your feet to identify the root cause. Over-the-counter remedies, such as corn paint or plasters, typically only address the symptoms and may harm healthy surrounding skin if used incorrectly. Always follow professional advice when using commercial preparations.
Never attempt to cut corns or calluses yourself, as the warm, moist conditions inside closed shoes can lead to infections, and small cuts can rapidly escalate into severe wounds.
When you see your Foot nurse, they will not only recommend methods to alleviate pain and remove the corn or callus but also help identify the cause and prevent future occurrences. Treatment may involve gently removing some of the hard skin of the callus to access the core of the corn, redistributing pressure on the foot with soft padding and strapping, or providing deflective appliances that fit comfortably inside your shoes. Specialized shoe inserts (orthoses) might be prescribed to reduce excessive weight-bearing forces on the foot and offer long-term relief.
Preventing Corns and Calluses and Caring for Your Feet
The best way to prevent calluses and corns is to be attentive to your feet when you sense heightened pressure in specific areas. Wearing properly fitting shoes is essential, particularly if you spend extended periods on your feet. It’s crucial never to wear someone else’s shoes.
Applying moisturizer daily can help keep your skin supple but remember that these problems primarily result from excessive pressure. If you suspect or already have a callus or corn, it’s advisable to seek professional advice and treatment from your local podiatrist.