Corns and calluses are some of the most common problems seen by Podiatrists. They occur as a result of pressure on the skin.Your body responds to the pressure by building more skin, for protection. However if the pressure on the skin continues then the skin thickens further and can become painful.
A callus generally refers to a more diffuse thickening of the skin (common on the ball of the foot) whereas a corn is a deeper and more focal formation of hard skin (more common on the toes). A corn can form under a callused area.
Pain from calluses is generally a mild discomfort, while a corn can give severe pain while weight bearing. If pain persists while non weight bearing, the corn may be infected. You should seek the advice of a Podiatrist as soon as possible.
Corns and calluses are caused by one thing – TOO MUCH PRESSURE. To treat corns and calluses the Podiatrist will debride the hard skin, which is painless and gives immediate relief. BUT until the cause (pressure) is addressed, the corn or callus is likely to return!
Too much pressure can be caused by:
- footwear that is too tight
- toe deformities
- bony prominences
- biomechanical or gait abnormalities
Self management of corns and calluses includes:
- following the advice of a Podiatrist
- proper fitting shoes
- proper foot hygiene and the use of emollients to keep the skin in good condition
Podiatric treatment of corns and calluses include:
- proper assessment to determine the cause of the corn and/or callus
- eliminating the diagnosis of a verruca which is a similar condition but with a very different cause and treatment plan
- regular maintenance to keep the corn and callus reduced
- use of padding to prevent the pressure
- advice on proper fitting footwear
- the use of orthotics to relieve pressure under the foot
- surgical correction of the bony prominence that may be causing the high pressure area
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