Callouses and Corns


What are Corns & Callouses?  


· Corns and callouses are similar. They share a common cause in that both are a thickening of the skin in an area that receives extra  pressure. 


· They are examples of the way our body protects itself; in this case, it builds up hard, dead skin to toughen up an area and prevents it from developing a blister, which can lead to infection. 


· The source of this extra pressure may be poorly fitting shoes, hammertoes or other prominent bones in your feet creating “unhappy skin”.




 What is the difference?


· The location differentiates the two. The disorder is called a corn when it applies to a small, specific area of the foot.  Many corns form on the sides of toes, particularly where the knuckle joints of one toe press or rub against the knuckle joints of another.




· Callouses may be caused by incorrectly fitting or improperly padded shoes, flat feet, bone spurs or hammer toes.  The bottom of the foot or the ball of the foot are common locations for callouses.



What to look for:



· If you see a hardened area of skin, particularly in an area that receives pressure, such as your heel, balls of feet or on tops or sides of toes.


· The area may or may not be painful and may feel rough or somewhat less sensitive to the casual touch.




What it means to you:



· Corns & callouses can be annoying and sometimes painful, but they’re not life-threatening.


· There are various lesions of the skin on the foot, including moles, warts – and even a few rare cancerous growths that have  similar or identical characteristics. 


· It’s best to have your chiropodist or podiatrist examine any growth on your foot to ascertain that it is indeed a corn or callous. 




What causes it?



· Continued, sustained pressure on a particular area (or areas) of your foot.


· They’re not contagious


· Causes include shoes that fit incorrectly, are incorrectly padded, or that have an area that rubs or irritates part of the foot continually.


· Flat feet, a bone spur or hammer toes are also contributing factors to some corns and/or callouses. 





· There is a plethora of home remedies, do-it-yourself fixes and all-natural cures.  Self treatment can result in cuts, infection and even amputation.


· It’s best to see your Doctor of Podiatric Medicine since he has a greater array of tools at his disposal and can treat the  problem with greater precision and usually better results.


· Goal is to remove the pressure & choosing properly fitted shoes will help.  At a minimum, shoes should have ½ inch of space between the toes and the end of the shoe, along with a large, square toe box.  It is equally important that the widest part of the foot fits in the widest part of the shoe. 


· Orthotics to redistribute pressure are often helpful


· Pads made of silicone, foam or cotton. A callous file or pumice stone may be used to treat your corns or callous


· In some cases surgery may be necessary to remove any underlying boney causes




 Preventing Corns & Callouses:



· Wear properly fitted shoes. Do not wear shoes that cause blisters,  redness or sore spots on your feet; over time, your body develops corns and callouses to prevent further injury.


· Examine your feet regularly.  Note any unusual growths or lumps.  Pay special attention to the soles of your feet, the tops of feet or toes, and the skin between the toes. 



Do these symptoms always mean corns or callouses?



· No, several other problems can mimic corns & callouses including warts, cysts and blocked sweat glands


· It’s essential to get your Doctor of Podiatric Medicine to diagnosis the problem.  If not, the problem could get far worse because of the delay in getting the correct treatment.