Corns and calluses form when the skin is exposed to excessive pressure or friction.
The body responds by thickening the skin to protect it from further damage. While corns and calluses are usually painless, our Arizona foot care specialist adds, they can become painful if they press on a nerve or rub against a bone.
What are Corns and Calluses?
Corns are small, round areas of thickened skin that usually form on the toes.
Calluses are larger areas of thickened skin that usually form on weight-bearing areas, such as the soles of the feet.
Corns and calluses are there to protect you. However, they also have some downsides:
- Corns and calluses can be unsightly.
- They can both become inflamed and painful - especially corns.
- Both corns and calluses can be a medical risk if your circulation or nerves are compromised, such as diabetes complications.
What Causes Corns and Calluses?
Corns and calluses are usually the result of friction and pressure against the skin.
This can happen when you wear ill-fitting shoes, walk barefoot on a hard and/or rough surface, or have some other rough surface repeatedly rub against your feet.
Corns for the most part always form on your feet. Calluses, while they often form on the feet, can also occur on the palms of the hands or other areas of the body. Corns and calluses are not dangerous and don’t usually cause pain. However, if they do cause pain, then you should get them treated right away.
Can Corns and Calluses be Treated at Home?
It's not always necessary to seek professional treatment for corns and calluses. There are a few things you can do to treat them at home.
One way to reduce them is to wear shoes that fit well and provide ample room for your toes. This will remove any shoes that caused the friction in the first place, while also ensuring no new friction will start on the corns and calluses.
Additionally, moleskin pads and some other conservative treatments can help to cushion and protect the affected area, which can help them go away in their own time.
Additionally, soaking your feet in warm water can help to soften the hard skin. You can then gently thin them out using an emery board or a pumice stone to remove a small amount of dead skin. Be careful not to remove too much skin, which could cause a wound to open up and risk an infection.
After soaking and filing, make sure also to apply lotion or moisturizing cream to the affected area every day to help smooth the skin.
With some care and attention, corns and calluses can be managed at home. Learn about the benefits of custom orthotics.
When Should I See a Doctor About Corns and Calluses?
There are certain situations where it would benefit you to see our podiatrists for your corns and calluses. Here are a few:
- If you have diabetes and/or neuropathy, you should have our doctors take a look at your corns or calluses. These conditions can make it difficult for corns and calluses to heal, and you're at a higher risk of cuts, infections, and sores.
- If they are painful, it is a sign that you need to come in to get them checked out. In addition to pain, other symptoms that may indicate a need for medical treatment include redness, swelling, and discharge.
- If they keep coming back, it's probably time to have them checked by our doctors. This may be a sign of an underlying problem that we can help you figure out.