Corns and calluses are one of the most common reasons for a visit to our office. In fact, we see quite a few cases each and every day!
A callus is a hardened area of skin on the foot that forms as the result of pressure or continuous rubbing from shoes or socks. It is usually raised and painless and appears on the bottom of the foot or heel.
A corn usually forms on the tops of toes, in between toes or on the tips of toes. Like a callus, a corn is a hardened area of skin, but it is smaller with a harder center that is surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns usually cause pain because they get pushed into the skin, affecting sensitive nerve endings.
Both corns and calluses form as a means for the foot to protect itself from ongoing pressure. The more persistent the pressure, the thicker the corn or callus!
What types of pressure or other types of foot conditions cause corns and calluses to develop?
- Shoes that are too tight, causing pressure on the foot, or too loose, causing the foot to move around within the shoe (can also cause blisters)
- Going sock-less or wearing socks that are too loose-fitting
- Hammertoes – the top of the bent toe is a likely area for increased pressure against a shoe
- Improper gait (manner of walking) that causes pressure on the bottom of the foot, making it easier for calluses to develop
- Pre-existing deformity of the foot or biomechanical problem, such as a bone spur
Although there are numerous over-the-counter (OTC) corn and callus remover products available, many of these products contain different types of acid that can burn the skin and may cause infection. For patients who are diabetic, elderly and unable to feel different sensations, these OTC preparations may prove especially dangerous.
The best (and safest) way to treat corns and calluses is to make an appointment for a complete foot and ankle examination. Treating corns and calluses on your own may provide temporary relief but it doesn’t address the cause of the corn or callus.
“Bathroom surgery,” using a razor or knife to “trim” or remove the corn or callus is dangerous and may lead to additional problems.
Some things like psychiatry, cardiology and podiatry are best left to professionals. Please give us a call if you are having a problem with corns or calluses and let us help – we know just what to do!