Corns and calluses, though often considered minor foot issues, can cause significant pain and discomfort. The board-certified podiatrists at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists understand the importance of healthy feet. Here, they break down everything you need to know about treating corns and calluses and prevent them from returning.
Understanding Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened and hardened areas of skin that develop on your feet, primarily in response to repeated friction or pressure. They might seem similar, but they have distinct characteristics:
Corns typically appear as small, round, raised bumps with a hard center and are often painful. They can develop on the tops and sides of your toes or even between them. Corns are more common in areas where bones may rub against your footwear.
Calluses, on the other hand, are larger and broader than corns. They usually form on the soles of your feet, particularly under the heels or balls, where the skin experiences constant pressure or rubbing. Calluses are generally less painful compared to corns.
What causes corns and calluses to develop?
Here are the most common reasons these foot issues develop:
- Friction and Pressure: The primary cause of corns and calluses is repeated friction or pressure on your skin. Ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or shoes without adequate support can lead to these issues.
- Abnormal Foot Structure: Some individuals have foot deformities or abnormalities, such as hammertoes, that increase the likelihood of corns and calluses.
- Activities: Repetitive motions, like running, can create excess pressure on certain areas of your feet, leading to corns and calluses.
How to treat corns and calluses
There are several treatment options available:
- Soak and file: At home, soak your foot in warm water for 10 minutes. Once the skin is soft, file the corn or callus with a pumice stone. First, dip the pumice stone in warm water. Gently file the corn or callus, using circular or sideways motions to remove dead skin.
- Pads, cushions, and creams: Various over-the-counter cushions, pads, and medicated creams can alleviate discomfort caused by corns and calluses. These products can help reduce friction and provide relief.
- Professional removal: Your podiatrist can safely remove corns and calluses for more severe cases using specialized tools. Don’t attempt to cut away corns or calluses with a sharp object yourself. Doing so can lead to infection.
- Surgical intervention: In rare cases where corns or calluses are causing severe pain or other complications, surgery might be necessary to correct underlying structural issues, such as bunions or hammertoe.
How to prevent corns and calluses
Here are some practical tips to keep corns and calluses at bay:
- Choose proper footwear: Select shoes that fit well and provide ample support. Avoid shoes with tight or narrow toe boxes that can compress your toes.
- Custom orthotics: Consult your podiatrist about custom-made orthotic inserts. These can help redistribute pressure on your feet, reducing the risk of corns and calluses.
- Keep moisturized: Regularly moisturize your feet, especially the soles, to prevent excessive dryness and cracking. This can reduce the likelihood of calluses forming.
- Keep your toenails trimmed: Toenails that are too long can force your toes to push up against your shoe, causing a corn to form over time.
- Inspect your feet regularly: Check your feet for signs of corns or calluses. Early detection can lead to more straightforward treatment.
For help with corns or calluses and all of your footcare needs, book an appointment with the pros at Cortez Foot and Ankle. We have convenient locations in Bradenton, Sarasota, University Park, and Ellenton, Florida. Call the nearest location to schedule an appointment, or book online today.