Corns and calluses are not just annoying, they can cause a lot of discomfort if neglected and left untreated. While burdensome, it is important to realize that your body creates these skin formations as a way to protect more sensitive areas of the skin. It is also important to understand that while they are often spoken of synonymously, corns and calluses are two very different things.
Corns occur on the tops and sides of the feet. They are hard, small patches of thickened, dead skin that have a central core. Softer corns can form as well, which are thinner on the surface and typically occur between the toes. Seed corns are tiny spots that are very tender, and typically form on the weight-bearing part or underside of the foot.
Calluses develop on the hands, feet or other areas where repeated friction occurs. The most common type of callus is found on the hands and feet, while plantar calluses form on the bottom of the feet.
What Causes Corns and Calluses
There are a variety of causes for both corns and calluses, though some of the more common ones include:
- Constant friction on sensitive areas of the skin
- Improper walking motions
- Ill-fitting shoes
- High-heeled shoes
- Excess pressure on the skin
- Wearing shoes or sandals without socks
- Playing instruments or using hand tools
- Lifting weights or using gym equipment and even riding a bike without protective gloves
Can I Prevent Them?
You can prevent corns and calluses from forming on the hands, feet and other sensitive areas of the skin by:
- Applying softening creams. These can be applied twice a day to help soften the skin and reduce the appearance of the corn or callus.
- Using proper foot care techniques and taking care of your feet daily. Use a file or gentle pumice stone to soften and smooth down the surface of corns and calluses.
- Wear comfortable socks with shoes and sandals to reduce the friction on your feet.
- Wear gloves any time your hands will be used in tasks that cause repeated friction.
How Do I Treat Corns and Calluses?
If your corns or calluses cause foot pain or become inflamed, you need to see a podiatrist right away. Also, if you suffer from diabetes or poor blood flow, call your doctor. Even a minor injury, like a callus, could lead to an open sore and infection.
Your podiatrist will do several things to treat the corns and calluses, including:
- Trimming away the excess skin. This can help reduce the size and discomfort associated with the corn or callus.
- Using a callus-removing medication. These contain 40 percent salicylic acid and remove the callus gently.
- Prescribing medications to reduce the risk of infection. This is important for individuals faced with chronic conditions. An antibiotic ointment may be used to keep infection at bay.
- Orthotics. These can help prevent recurring corns and calluses.
- Surgery. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to correct the misalignment of the foot bones causing the corns or calluses to form.
If you are suffering from corns or calluses, you should have your feet examined by a podiatrist. Sometimes there is an underlying cause that is more serious, and should be assessed by a professional.
Suffering from corns or calluses on your feet? Visit a podiatrist at Comfort Stride today. Call us at 647-989-7794 to make an appointment.