What Causes Corns and Calluses?

Dry and cracked soles of feet in shoesCorns and calluses are thickened areas of skin that are caused by friction or pressure on the foot. While they are typically painless, they can cause pain when additional friction or pressure is applied, especially while walking or wearing shoes. Corns and calluses are often confused for one another, but they are two different things entirely.

  • Corns – Corns occur on the tops and sides of the feet. Hardened corns have small patches of thickened, dead skin with a central core. Softened corns are thinner on the surface and usually occur in between the toes. Seed corns are discrete and can be extremely painful, especially if they bear weight.
  • Calluses – These can develop on the hands, feet and anywhere your skin experiences repeated friction. Calluses too have several variants, but the most common type forms on hands and feet due to excess rubbing. Plantar calluses form on the bottom of the foot.

What Causes Corns and Calluses?

There are a variety of causes for these conditions, and both can be caused due to improper walking. The majority of corns and calluses that occur on the feet happen because of ill-fitting shoes. Individuals who wear high heels frequently are commonly probe to them. When shoes are too tight, they put pressure on the foot. Also, wearing shoes or sandals without socks, foot deformities and other friction-causing elements can lead to calluses and corns on your feet.

Rubbing or excessive pressure will lead to soft corns or plantar (foot) calluses. Other risk factors, such as bunions and hammertoes can also lead to calluses and corns.

Treatment for Corns and Calluses

Not groomed and cracked feetIt is important to have your corns or calluses looked at, even if they are not causing pain. Complications can result from untreated calluses and corns, especially if you have diabetes or any other condition that causes reduced blood flow to your feet. Also, if a corn or callus forms an open sore, you are at risk for staph infections.

Treatment for calluses and corns typically involves:

  1. Trimming away the excess skin. It is important to have a professional do this rather than try it on your own at home; not treating the wound properly could lead to infection.
  2. Using a callus-removing medication. Instead of trimming away the skin, a doctor may use a patch that contains salicylic acid paired with a pumice stone to help slowly remove the excess skin.
  3. Medications to mitigate infection risks. If there is an open sore, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to reduce your risk for developing infection.
  4. Prescribing shoe inserts. If a foot deformity is what caused your calluses and corns, you may need customized shoe inserts to prevent excess pressure and friction while walking.
  5. Surgery. Though rare, surgery may be required to correct bone deformities in the toes or foot that are causing excess friction and pain.

If you have corns or calluses, contact the team at Comfort Stride for treatment. Call us at 647-989-7794 now to schedule an appointment.

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