Corns and Calluses

foot assessment Elio's Foot Comfort Centre

Corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin caused by pressure or friction on the skin. Corns usually appear on the tops and sides of toes. Calluses can appear in any place that experiences friction, such as the bottom of your feet or the palms of your hands.

CORNS: Corns generally occur at pressure points, typically on the bottom of the feet and the side of the toes. They can be painful.

A hard corn is a small patch of thickened, dead skin with a central core. A soft corn has a much thinner surface and usually occurs between the 4th and 5th toes. A seed corn is a tiny, discrete callus that can be very tender if it’s on a weight-bearing part of the foot. Seed corns tend to occur on the bottom of the feet.

CALLUSES: Calluses are painless thickenings of the outermost layer of the skin. They can develop on hands, feet, or anywhere there is repeated friction. 

What Causes Corns and Calluses?

Some corns and calluses on the feet develop from improper walking motion, but most are caused by ill-fitting shoes.  Other risk factors for developing a corn or callus include foot deformities and wearing shoes or sandals without socks, which leads to friction on the feet. Rubbing or pressure can cause either soft corns or plantar calluses. 

Call Your Doctor or Chiropodist About a Corn or Callus If:

  • You cut a corn or callus and cause it to bleed. The break in the skin can cause infection.
  • A corn discharges pus or clear fluid, which means it is infected or ulcerated. Both conditions need urgent medical attention.
  • You develop a corn and also have diabetes, heart disease, or other circulatory problems
foot assessment Elio's Foot Comfort Centre
foot assessment Elio's Foot Comfort Centre

How Can You Prevent Corns and Calluses?

  • To avoid corns and calluses on the feet, have both feet professionally measured at Elio’s Foot Comfort Centre, and buy properly fitting shoes.
  • If possible, shop for shoes at the end of the day, when feet are typically most swollen.
  • Avoid shoes with sharply pointed toes and high heels. Try to lower heel height as much as possible.
  • Replace your shoes regularly. Worn soles give little protection from the shock of walking on hard surfaces, and worn linings can chafe your skin and harbor bacteria.
  • Worn heels raise any uneven pressure on the heel bone. If the soles or heels of your shoes tend to wear unevenly, see Canadian Certified Pedorthist at Elio’s Foot Comfort Centre about custom orthotics. 
  • If you have hammertoes (toes that are buckled under) be sure the shape of your shoes offers plenty of room to accommodate them.

What Are the Treatments for Corns and Calluses?

Most corns and calluses gradually disappear when the friction or pressure stops, although your Chiropodist may shave the top of a callus to reduce the thickness. Properly positioned pads can help relieve pressure on a corn, but most foot doctors discourage the use of over-the-counter salicylic-acid corn remedies. When applied improperly, these corn “plasters” can create a chemical skin burn in healthy tissue around the corn and cause infections and ulcers (which is a hole through the skin) in patients with diabetes, poor circulation, or numbness in their feet.

Moisturizing creams may help soften the skin and remove cracked calluses. Apply the moisturizing cream to the callus and cover the area overnight with a sock, but only if instructed to do so by your doctor. Then gently rub off as much of the callus as you can with a coarse towel or soft brush. Using a pumice stone first to rub off the dead skin from a callus after a bath or shower and then applying moisturizing cream can also be effective.

If a Chiropodist thinks your corn or callus is caused by abnormal foot structure, walking motion, or hip rotation, Custom Orthotics may help correct the problem.

If you suffer from corns and calluses, contact Elio’s Foot Comfort Centre at 905-227-4215 to schedule an appointment today.

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