Corns & Calluses
The human body relies on an array of processes and mechanisms to protect itself. These range from reflex actions to using the immune system to fight off potential infections. Another defensive measure your body uses is the formation of corns and calluses to protect against repeated sources of friction or pressure. While this is completely natural, these patches of thickened skin can lead to other issues, especially for those who live with diabetes or other diseases that impair circulation.
Causes and Symptoms of Dry, Hard Spots on Your Skin
Basically, the underlying cause of any corn or callus is going to be friction, pressure, or a combination of the two. Specific causes, as they relate to feet, commonly include shoes and socks that don’t fit properly and wearing footwear without socks. Risk factors that can make a corn or callus more likely include bunions, hammertoes, and other foot deformities.
Calluses and corns are related issues, with each consisting of rough, thick skin, but each has its own distinctive characteristics. Corns tend to be smaller than calluses and are marked by a hard center that is surrounded by inflamed skin. They are raised in a conical shape and more commonly found in areas that face friction but do not bear weight. Corns are often painful when pressed.
Calluses are flat, develop in areas that bear weight, and rarely cause pain, even when pressed. They can vary in shape and size, but are usually larger than corns. These typically will develop in the heel and ball areas on the soles of your feet. Calluses usually have a waxy appearance.
Treating Dry Patches of Skin
As we look at treatment options for corns and calluses, it is important to note that if you have diabetes or other related conditions, we strongly advise against trying to handle one on your own. Further, and regardless as to your state of health, do not attempt to remove a corn or callus using “home surgery.” Individuals who try cutting off the offensive patch of skin put themselves at needless risk for an infection.
If you do want to try home care, some methods that help include soaking your feet, using a pumice stone, moisturizing your feet, and even switching to comfortable shoes and socks that fit properly. You can buy protective pads over-the-counter, but be careful of ones that are medicated. Medicated pads often contain salicylic acid and this may irritate your healthy skin and potentially lead to an infection.
Professional treatment for calluses and corns often entails medication, shoe inserts or custom orthotic devices and trimming away the excess skin using sterile tools in a safe environment.
It is certainly possible to treat calluses or corns, but you would likely prefer not to get them in the first place. Fortunately, some easy preventative measures can help you avoid ending up with one of these skin conditions. These include:
- Wear properly-fitting footwear. Make sure that your shoes have plenty of room for your toes. If you can’t wiggle your toes, the shoes are simply too tight.
- Wear protective coverings. You can decrease the risk of a corn or callus by wearing felt pads, bandages, or non-medicated pads on areas of your feet that rub against your shoes.
- Try separating your toes. A common location of corns is between toes, so you may benefit from the use of lamb’s wool or toe separators.
Professional Callus Care in Oklahoma City
There are many instances where you can handle corns and calluses on your own. When this isn’t the case, especially if you live with diabetes, Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma is here to help. We offer complete foot and ankle care for you and your loved ones. If you would like more information or need to schedule an appointment, call us today at (405) 418-2676 or simply fill out our online form to reach us.
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