A corn or callus is an area of hard, thickened skin on the foot that is formed in response to pressure or friction. They are part of the body’s defense system to protect the underlying tissues. If the cause of pressure is not relieved, calluses can become painful. If pressure becomes concentrated in a small area, a ‘hard’ corn may develop. A corn has a central core.

Common sites of corn and callus formation are the ball of the foot, under the big toe, the tips and the tops of toes. ‘Soft’ corns may develop between the toes, where the skin is moist from sweat or inadequate drying. Sometimes, the pressure of the corn or callus may produce inflammation, which can result in acute pain, swelling and redness.

Corns and calluses may be a sign that you have an underlying foot disorder, such as a joint that is out of alignment. This is why it is important to seek professional advice rather than attempt to treat calluses or corns yourself.

Symptoms

The symptoms of corns and calluses can include:

  • Thickened patch of hard skin on the foot.
  • Hard, small bump of skin that may have a central core.
  • White and rubbery bumps of skin (‘soft’ corns, in between the toes).
  • In some cases, the callus pushes into the foot, rather than spreading across the skin surface.
  • Pain when pressure or friction is applied to the area.

Anyone can develop corns or calluses, but some groups are particularly at risk, including:

  • People with Diabetes can be prone to poor circulation & slow healing and are at risk of developing an infection or ulcer. Diabetics may also lose the feeling in their feet and not know they have a corn or callus, which can ulcerate if not treated.
  • Elderly people – because ageing skin loses elasticity and fatty tissue.
  • People who spend a lot of time standing up – because of the continuous weight-bearing pressure on their feet.
  • People with feet that roll inwards or have flat feet (called pronation) – flat feet place excessive pressure on the ball of the foot beneath the big toe, and the inside of the heel.
  • A person with foot complaints (such as a hammer toe, bunions or arthritis) – because a bony prominence can rub against the shoe or neighbouring toes.
  • People who regularly wear shoes that are narrow, tight, ill-fitting or high-heeled .
  • Don’t try to treat corns and calluses yourself

Over-the-counter treatments, such as corn plasters, don’t treat the underlying foot disorder. The body protects skin tissues from pressure or friction damage by producing an area of hard skin so, unless the cause of the pressure or friction is found and removed, calluses and corns will continue to form.

These over-the-counter treatments can also damage the healthy surrounding skin, if used incorrectly. They can also cause an ulcer to develop, or become infected, which is a danger to those people with poor circulation such as Diabetics.

Don’t ever attempt to cut away or scrape a callus. If you accidentally cut yourself the humid environment of socks and shoes makes infection of the wound more likely.

How Can we Help?

  • Professional trimming or debriding of the callus or corn to relieve pain
  • Customized padding on various areas of the foot to temporarily redistribute pressure, for example, you may need to wear little foam wedges between your toes.
  • Investigation and treatment of the possible causes, ie shoe assessment, bunions.
  • If needed, permanent inserts to wear inside your shoes (orthoses) to offer long term pressure relief. Advice on appropriate footwear.
  • Advice on appropriate foot care, such as applying moisturizer daily.

Summary

CORNS are caused by friction and pressure resulting in a build up of a ‘cone shaped’ callus, which can press on nerve endings in the skin resulting in a very painful area.

The use of ‘corn cures’ to try and remove the corn can produce disastrous results. The corn cure contains acid, which burns the skin.

A Podiatrist can painlessly remove the corn and apply padding over the area.

To make an appointment for any of the above conditions, please call us… or send an enquiry e-mail Ring 55313877 to make an appointment

To read more about various foot conditions, please click here