Corns and calluses are areas of hard, thickened skin that develop when your skin is exposed to excessive pressure or friction. Lots of people get these on their feet and they can cause a good deal of pain and discomfort when you walk.
What are corns?
Corns are small circles of thick skin that usually develop on the tops and sides of your toes, or on the sole of your foot. That said, they can occur anywhere. If you have bony feet you are at greater risk as there’s a lack of natural cushioning. Corns can also develop as a symptom of another foot problem such as a bunion (a bony swelling at the base of your big toe) or as a hammer toe (where your toe is bent at the middle joint).
There are various types of corns:
Hard corns (Heloma Durum) are the most common type of corn and appear as small, concentrated areas of hard skin or callus with a central conical nucleus which presses down into the underlying skin. You’ll normally find them on the ball of your foot or on the tops or sides of your toes.
Hard corns are caused through excessive pressure, friction or rubbing of the skin, usually over a bony prominence on the foot, and are your body’s natural protective response to injury.
Seed corns (Heloma Milliare) are much smaller in size. They appear as dots, usually on the bottom of your foot. Seed corns can be painless but are occasionally problematic and need the treatment and advice a professional foot health practitioner.
You’ll usually see soft corns, (Heloma Molle) between your toes. As the name suggests they are softer but still have a central nucleus which can cause severe pain between your toes when you walk.
What are calluses?
Calluses are hard, rough areas of skin that are often yellowish in colour. They can develop on your foot, usually around your heel or over the ball of your foot.
Larger than corns, calluses also have a much less defined edge. As callused skin is thick, you’ll often find it to be less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin.
Calluses develop when your skin rubs against something, such as a bone, a shoe or the ground. They often form over the ball of your foot because this is that area that takes most of your weight when you walk. This is particularly the case in women who regularly wear high heels.
How to treat corns and calluses
If you have a corn on your foot, you should see a foot health professional or podiatrist, who can advise you about treatment.
Should I use corn plasters?
You can buy over-the-counter treatments for corns, such as corn plasters, from your pharmacist. However, these do not treat the cause of the corn and they may affect the normal, thinner skin surrounding the corn. Corn plasters are not suitable for everyone, so if you suffer from diabetes, circulation problems or fragile skin then you may wish to give this some more thought.
How should I treat my corns and calluses?
To treat corns and calluses I gently file and pare the area to remove the thickened skin, exposing the hard or soft corn so that I can enucleate it.
I sometimes advise using padding or toe separators to reduce any pressure and friction, which may help to alleviate the problem.
Call or email me to discuss your foot health concerns or to make an appointment.
Tel. 01253 891326 or 07939151744
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