Corns and callus: What are they and how to treat them effectively

Corns and callus are a thickening of skin that commonly occur on feet. They can quickly become uncomfortable and painful but fortunately they can be treated effectively by your podiatrist.

When we walk or stand, it is our feet that support all our body weight. Often the body may respond to this pressure by producing thickened areas of skin. These hard patches of skin are called calluses, and are the body’s response to protect the underlying tissue. If the pressure becomes concentrated in a small area, the callus can form a hard centre point that is called a hard corn.

The excess pressure of callus and corns on the feet may produce inflammation, which can result in acute pain, swelling and redness. Corns and calluses most often develop on the balls of the feet and top of toes. However, they can also be found on the heels and along the sides of toenails. Corns that occur in between toes are called soft corns. These may appear white and rubbery as a result of excess moisture from sweating, or inadequate drying after bathing.

What causes corns and calluses?

Calluses and corns can indicate symptoms of underlying biomechanical problems. Since they are caused by continuous pressure to one particular area, it may indicate abnormalities in your bone structure, joint range of motion or the way you walk.

Poorly fitting shoes and inappropriate shoes can also contribute to the development of corns and callus. Shoes that are too tight can apply high friction (rubbing) to the tops of toes and the sides of little toes.

Who gets corns and calluses?

Anyone can develop calluses or corns; young, old, sporty or sedentary feet. Some people naturally have a pre disposition to develop callus because of their skin type. And as elderly people have less fatty tissue and elasticity in their feet, this lack of padding may mean calluses form at the bottoms of their feet.

How to not to treat calluses and corns

It is very important not to treat corns and calluses yourself without seeing a podiatrist first. As stated, calluses are general symptoms of other foot problems. It is important for a podiatrist to examine your feet to rule out any issues and identify the cause of the calluses and corns.

Podiatrists do not recommend remedies such as corn plasters that are available over the counter at pharmacies. If not used properly, these products can very easily damage the healthy skin surrounding the corn – and they do not address the underlying cause of the problem.

Treating corns and callus yourself places your feet at a higher risk of infection. Infections of the foot are very easy to contract as they are often confined to warm, moist, dark environments of enclosed shoes. A small cut can quickly become an infected wound! Then an easily treatable condition becomes a bigger concern.

See a podiatrist!

The most efficient method of treating painful callus and corns is to visit your podiatrist. Your podiatrist can very easily remove the callus and corn painlessly and effectively by debriding them with a sharp scalpel. And they will also help to identify the cause and prevent the problem reoccurring.

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