Overview of corns and calluses
Corns and calluses are thick, hard layers of skin that appear when your skin tries to protect itself from friction and pressure. It most often appears on the feet and toes, or hands and fingers. Corns and calluses can be unsightly.
If you are healthy, you only need to treat corns and calluses if they cause discomfort. For the vast majority, just wiping out the wellspring of grinding or weight causes corns and calluses to vanish.
If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet, you are at increased risk of developing complications from Corns and calluses.
Causes and risk factors
The following risk factors are associated with a higher incidence of corns and calluses:
- Anything that causes weight or rubbing on the skin
- Shoes that are too close or too high heel, causing pressure
- Too loose shoes cause friction
- Poorly placed seams in the shoe causing friction on the leather
- Socks that don’t fit well
- Do not wear socks
- Walk barefoot regularly, as the skin will thicken up to protect itself
- Repetitive movements, such as running or walking in a certain way
- Aging, as there is less fatty tissue in the skin, which means less filling and a greater risk of nail injury, especially on football
Calluses most often appear on the feet, but friction and pressure can also cause calluses.
People who use hand tools or use bicycles frequently without wearing gloves can develop it. Repeated kneeling or resting the elbows on a table can cause spikes on the knees or elbows.
Bunions, hammer feet, and other foot problems and deformities increase the risk of corns and calluses. A bunion is an irregular hard knock that creates on the joint at the base of the large toe. A hammer is when a toe becomes twisted like a claw.
Symptoms of Corns and calluses
You may have corns and calluses if you notice this:
- A thick, rough area of skin
- A raised bump
- Tenderness or pain under your skin
- Flaky, dry, or waxy skin
Corns and calluses are not the same things.
- Corns are smaller than tissue and have a hard centre surrounded by inflamed skin. Calluses tend to grow on parts of your feet that cannot bear weight, such as the top and sides of your toes, and even between your toes. It can also be found in weight-bearing areas. Meat nails can be painful when pressed.
- Calluses are rarely painful. It usually appears on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on the palms of your hand, or your knees. Nails vary in size and shape and are often larger than calluses.
How are corns and calluses diagnosed?
Calluses and corns are not difficult to diagnose. No tests are required. Usually, a simple visual examination of the skin is all that’s needed. Your doctor may ask you questions about your job, the amount of walking and standing you do, and the activities you participate in. If a corn or callus is on your foot, your doctor may ask you to walk to check your posture and the way you walk, ask about your shoes, and ask how to take care of your feet.
Corns and calluses may disappear on their own if you treat the cause. They can also solve the problem on their own if they appear due to participating in a sporting event, such as a marathon.
If you don’t treat Corns and calluses as they develop, they may persist or grow larger until whatever is causing them is fixed.
Now and again, corns and calluses may get contaminated and make strolling difficult. If this happens, tell your doctor. You may need medical treatment.
Some scarring may remain after removal or healing of Corns and calluses.
What are the treatments for corns and calluses?
Most corns and calluses continuously vanish when rubbing or weight stops, even though your primary care physician may shave the highest point of the corns to lessen the thickness. Properly placed moleskin dressings can help relieve pressure on corns. Most podiatrists discourage the use of over-the-counter corn remedies. When applied incorrectly, corn “patches” can create a chemical burn of the skin in the healthy tissue around the corns and calluses inflammation and ulcers (which is a hole in the skin) in people with diabetes, poor circulation, or numbness in their feet.
Oral antibiotics generally remove infected calluses, but the pus may need to be drained through a small incision.
Moisturizing creams may soften the skin and remove cracked tissue. Apply moisturizing cream to the callus and cover the area overnight with a plastic bag or sock – but only if your doctor tells you to do so. Then scrub as much of the corn as possible with a rough towel or a soft brush. Using a pumice stone first to scrub the dead skin off a callus after showering and then applying a moisturizing cream can also be effective.
There are also stronger creams that contain urea which may be more effective but do not use them unless your doctor recommends it. Don’t bother with hydrocortisone creams, which only help with a rash and itch and are not essential for calluses.
You can consider surgery to remove a plantar callus, but there are no guarantees that the nail will not come back. The conservative approach is best in the beginning. Keep feet dry and free from friction. Wear well-fitting shoes and cotton socks, not wool or synthetic fibres that may irritate the skin.
If a podiatrist or orthopaedic surgeon believes that corns or callus are caused by an abnormal foot structure, gait movement, or hip rotation, orthopaedic shoe inserts or surgery to correct foot deformities may help correct the problem.
Corns and calluses are not a serious condition and can be managed with home remedies or medical treatment. Rarely, surgery is necessary. However, even with management, corns and calluses may recur if pressure or friction continues on the affected area. Corns and calluses are favourable conditions that don’t expand the danger of skin malignancy or other genuine conditions.
Is it possible to prevent corns and calluses?
In many cases, corns and calluses can be prevented by reducing or eliminating conditions that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the hands and feet. Therefore potential preventive measures include the following:
- Wear suitable comfortable shoes. The idea is to avoid pressing the foot pedal on the outside of the fifth toe or pressing the fourth and fifth toes together to prevent corns in these areas.
- Another method is to fill the potentially affected area. Many types of fillers are available at the drugstore:
- Cushions to place between the toes
- Foam or moleskin pads to apply to the areas where the corn grows
- Hole-perforated foam pads in the centre (shaped like cakes or cookies), which redistribute pressure around the corn rather than directly over it
- Cushioned sole to cushion the feet and relieve mechanical stress