Corns and calluses are very common problems that we treat at our office. They are similar in nature and can be annoying to deal with, unsightly and sometimes painful.
What is the difference between a corn and a callus?
Corns and calluses are both areas of thick, hardened skin. They typically develop as a form of protection on your skin. They can form when your skin is exposed to repetitive friction or pressure. While they are often thought of as a skin problem, corns and calluses are more often a sign of an underlying bone problem.
A corn is caused by direct pressure on the feet and is typically found on the top, between or on the tips of your toes. When one is found between your toes it is called a soft corn. A corn on the top of a toe would be considered a hard corn. They are typically smaller than a callus.
A callus is a larger patch of hardened, thick skin and generally develops on the heel, the ball of the foot or on the underside of the big toe. They also form where there is pressure on the skin. Sometimes there is some numbness in the area of the callus and there are times when a callus can become painful.
What are the symptoms of corns and calluses?
With both corns and calluses, you will want to look for a hardened, thick, rough area of skin. They can often have a dry, flaky or waxy appearance. Both can cause tenderness and pain as well. There are often painful nerves underneath that can cause aching, soreness or shooting pain.
What causes corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses develop when your skin is exposed to repeated pressure and friction. Your skin becomes thicker under the pressure to defend against the development of an open sore or blister.
If you have a bony prominence such as a bone spur or bunion, the skin on this area can develop a corn or blister as it rubs against the ground or inside of a shoe. Hammertoes that curl up often rub against the inside of shoes making it common for corns to develop on the top of hammertoes.
Wearing tight shoes that squeeze your foot, loose shoes that your feet slide around in or sandals without socks can each aggravate corns and calluses although they typically aren’t the cause.
What can I do about a corn or callus?
Eliminating the source of friction and pressure often allows for a corn or callus to heal on its own. There are a few treatments you can try at home but it is essential that you show great care to ensure the health of your feet.
You can start by soaking your feet in warm water and then rubbing away any loose dead skin with a pumice stone. This should be done very carefully though, only doing a little bit at a time. Applying cocoa butter or another good moisturizer to the thickened areas of skin will help soften them and relieve pain. You can also find corn pads or moleskin patches to put on the area that help to protect and cushion the skin.
Anyone with poor circulation in their feet, including people with diabetes should call Dr. Danciger as soon as a corn or callus develops. Self-treatment should be avoided since even a minor injury could lead to an infected sore that can be difficult to heal.
For help with corns and calluses, please contact our office today for help. You can call our office at (760) 568-0108 or request an appointment directly from our homepage.