Your feet do a significant amount of work every day, carrying and balancing your weight, keeping you steady, upright and walking forward. Not surprisingly, corns and calluses are very common and are formed when there is excessive pressure or friction on parts of the feet. The skin hardens as a protective barrier to the softer tissues underneath, so it’s a natural reaction to protect the body.
Calluses are essentially skin that has hardened and often form under the balls and heels of the feet. Corns on the other hand, are more specifically focused in one area, forming more of a hard lump surrounded by inflamed skin. They can be very painful to step on with acute stabbing pain, but calluses mostly don’t hurt. Corns can also be soft and develop between the middle toes, while hard corns usually form on the tops of the toes.
What causes corns and calluses?
The foot is meant to walk in alignment with the rest of the body and support and balance our weight evenly. However, if the foot is out of balance slightly, additional friction or pressure will cause corns and calluses. We’d recommend having your feet assessed as both corns and calluses could be a symptom of a deeper underlying cause. If the foot structure is out of alignment or there is a biomechanical problem, this could lead to longer term problems.
Common reasons why corns and calluses happen:
- The foot is not aligned properly so your gait (walking style) is not aligned putting pressure on specific parts of the foot.
- There are structural/biomechanical problems in the foot.
- Badly fitting shoes causing friction – if they are too tight, the shoe will rub against the foot causing hardening of the skin. If the shoe fits too loose, the foot will again rub repeatedly against the shoe causing friction.
- Not wearing socks with your shoes creates more friction on the skin.
Self-help, what you can do at home
We’d recommend you pop in for us to assess your feet as corns and calluses could be indications of other structural problems in your feet. But in the meantime, here’s how you can find some relief at home with the following:
- Soaking your feet in warm water will soften the hard skin.
- While the skin is nice and soft, use a pumice stone to exfoliate the harder skin, but don’t file too hard or you may cause bleeding.
- Moisturising your feet after a soak can prevent the skin from hardening further.
- For corns, you can purchase corn pads from the chemist but take care and follow instructions carefully as they can cause the skin surrounding the corn to react.
- Last but not least, never cut away the callus or corn at home. This is definitely a job for a podiatrist.
How we help at our podiatry clinic
After an assessment of your foot and gait to determine the underlying p[problem, we may do the following:
- Gently shaving/trimming the hardened skin (do not try this at home)
- Applying padding to the area to ease pain and/por friction or between the toes
- The use of topical medications to slow or prevent corn and calluses from growing
- Surgical procedures may be used if the corn/calluses is stubborn
Prevention is better than cure with corns and calluses – corns and calluses can be easily fixed but will often return of the underlying problems is not resolved. This could be a biomechanical issue, or badly fitting shoes so we’ll give you information to help prevent further development of corns and calluses.
Book an appointment with Sanders Podiatry to have your corns or calluses assessed
Our experienced and gentle podiatrists have access to the most up to date and current techniques for quality foot care. We provide holistic personalised podiatry care and customise our approach to the care of your feet. When you make an appointment with our podiatrists, we’ll assess the calluses and corns and advise on the best treatment. We also take the time to educate our clients on preventive measures to minimise or prevent the recurrence of corns and calluses.
Our podiatry clinics are located in Adelaide, across the road from Burnside Shopping Centre, in Stirling and at the Mount Barker Summit Health Centre. https://www.summithealth.org.au/