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Causes and Treatments of Corns and Calluses

If you have corns or calluses, you may be afraid to take off your socks – they can be unsightly. You’ll find calluses can develop on any part of the body, including the hands, bottom of the feet, and elbows. Anywhere that you have skin, a callus can form.

The good news is that healthy individuals only need to seek treatment if the callus is causing them discomfort.

Friction and pressure are the reason for corns and calluses forming, and it’s normally not one of the foot pain reasons that people complain about. Complications may arise if you have diabetes or other health conditions, and in this case, it may be wise to speak to your doctor.

Symptoms Associated with Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses have very similar symptoms, and people normally think they’re the same thing; they’re not. You’ll find the main differences between the two are as follows:

  • Calluses. A callus is rarely painful, and a lot of people will not seek out calluses treatments. These areas of thick, hardened skin will develop on the foot’s sole, on your knees, palms, balls of the foot and even heels. Friction is what causes a callus to form. You’ll also find a callus can be small, or a callus can be rather large.
  • Corns. Corns often occur on areas of the body that don’t bear weight, primarily on the feet. Between and on top of the toes are the most common areas where corns develop, but they can also be found in weight-bearing areas on occasion. Corns are rather small in size, and if you squeeze them, they may be painful.

The symptoms associated with calluses and corns are:

  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Hardened, raised bumps
  • Rough skin
  • Thick skin
  • Pain or tenderness under the skin

I have found plenty of calluses on my feet before, and they never cause heel pain when walking. I have some, that on occasion, will start to itch and cause me discomfort. These calluses are more of a nuisance than anything else.

Why Calluses and Corns Form

Knowing why calluses and corns form can be an entry way into knowing how to treat them. Pressure and friction are the cause for the development, and if you find the source of this friction, you can remove it from the equation.

Some sources of friction may include:

  • Not wearing socks. You need to wear socks, and of course, there are those times when wearing socks isn’t possible. Tight shoes or even high heels can cause your feet to be confined to a very small space. When there’s hardly any wiggle room, you’ll be at a higher risk of pressure and friction. Socks can help absorb some of the pressure and should be worn with all footwear.
  • Improperly fitting shoes. When shoes don’t fit properly, they can lead to aches and pains. Tight shoes and heels, as we just mentioned, are not good for your feet. A little sliding and you’ll cause friction and pressure. When footwear is too loose, this is also a problem. Feet that are allowed to slide around will rub against the interior of the shoe and may even rub against the seams inside of the shoe.

You can also get calluses on other areas of the body, but for the purpose of this article, we’re sticking to just your feet.

If you follow a good foot care routine , you may be able to find some relief. You’ll also want to find the best insoles which will help absorb a lot of the pressure on your feet. Insoles are definitely a great option when calluses begin to form on the toes or bottom of the feet.

Preventing Calluses and Corns

Preventing calluses and corns is possible, and I recommend cleaning your feet well and applying moisturizer to help loosen up the thick skin. But, remember that a callus is a defense mechanism of the body and will form for a reason.

If you don’t remove this reason, the callus will continue to form.

Preventative measures can be taken to help correct the issue before it occurs. Two preventative measures that I recommend to keep calluses and corns at bay are:

  • Protective coverings. Footwear is the main cause of callus formation, and you can often get away with proper coverings to eliminate calluses. Felt pads can be applied in areas where footwear rubs. Toe separators inside of your shoes can also help remove some of the friction and rubbing you’re experiencing.
  • Shoe space. If your shoes are too small, you may need to go to a shoe stop and have a professional stretch out your shoe. This stretching can be done in areas where rubbing occurs the most.

Treatments of Corns and Calluses

If you have foot pain, you’ll want to consult with a doctor or read our article on choosing the right shoe insert . Since these conditions don’t come from medical conditions or anything serious, you can normally treat them easily.

A few treatment methods that are highly recommended and work well, are:

  • Inserts. Shoe inserts will allow for extra padding and potential correction of foot issues. These inserts may be custom fabricated in the event that you have a foot deformity that needs to be corrected.
  • Trimming. A doctor may trim away the excess skin or pare down the skin. This will remove the hard layer and start allowing the foot to heal. Keep in mind that if the pressure and friction issues are not corrected, trimming will do little to help – it will return.
  • Medication. You can find callus and corn medication in most pharmacies, and these patches don’t require a prescription. Using a form of acid, this will start to eat away and soften the callus or corn. You’ll need to use a pomace stone to rub away the dead skin when you’re done.

You may need to have surgery in the most severe cases, but this is only done when there are alignment issues causing your problem. Most people can follow the advice above to keep calluses and corns from developing in the future.

September 6, 2018


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