Calluses and Corns

Out of the various foot and ankle issues we treat here at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle, calluses and corns might not seem as urgent as others. This is certainly true in some cases, but it is important not to overlook these common skin conditions and the symptoms they can cause. Additionally, diabetic individuals have to be especially careful over any abnormality, even ones that seem harmless. As such, it is important to know about callus treatment and prevention.

Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors of Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are similar in some regards—they are both thick, hardened layers of skin developed by the body for protection and are more commonly found on hands and feet—but there are certain differences as well. Let’s take a look at both so you can recognize which is affecting your foot health:

  • Calluses – These are usually not painful and tend to be quite flat. Calluses develop in response to pressure and can often be found under your heels and on the balls of your feet. They can vary in shape and size and are often larger than corns.
  • Corns – As noted, these are generally smaller than calluses. Corns have a cylindrical shape, with a hardened center surrounded by inflamed skin. They are more likely to develop in response to friction (instead of pressure), can be painful when pressed upon, and are often found between the toes and on the tops and sides of feet.

The skin for both of these growths is usually dry, waxy, or flaky. They develop and grow in response to friction and pressure, which can include wearing ill-fitting footwear and not wearing socks. With regards to footwear, shoes that are both too tight and too large can lead to issues. A foot sliding inside a large shoe can experience friction (which could also lead to a blister), whereas tight shoes can compress the feet and cause them to rub against seams or stitching.

We mentioned the concern over corns and calluses for those who live with diabetes. A part of responsible diabetic foot care is to inspect the feet daily for issues like these. This is because corns and calluses can break down over time, and potentially lead to a diabetic foot ulcer. Don’t try to remove them yourself! Come see us here at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle as soon as possible if you have diabetes and discover the development of a corn or callus.

Callus Treatment and Prevention

As long as you do not have diabetes or another condition that negatively affects blood flow, you might be able to treat a corn or callus on your own. Call us first to make sure we approve, and then use the following procedure:

  • Soak your feet in warm, soapy water to soften the corns or calluses first.
  • Dip a nail file, pumice stone, or even a rough washcloth into the water and then rub the affected area in circular motion with firm, but not hard, pressure. The goal is not to try to rub off the callus in one session.
  • Rinse your feet.
  • Apply a thick moisturizing cream or lotion to the area. This is actually a great idea to do before going to bed for the night. After you have applied the lotion, put on thick socks (to trap in the moisture), and keep them on overnight.
  • Wear comfortable footwear, and avoid high heels or other tight shoes.

Do not attempt to remove the callus or corn with “bathroom surgery.” This means using a knife or razor to try and cut out the patch of skin on your own. Doing so puts you at risk for both injury and infection. Instead, come see us at either our Frisco Station or Avon, CO offices and our medical professionals can perform removal services for you in a safe, sanitary environment.

Even better than undergoing treatment is to prevent the issue in the first place. You can do so by making sure your shoes fit well, using non-medicated pads, and even separating your toes with some lamb’s wool.

For professional treatment, give us a call at (970) 949-0500 to reach our Avon, CO office or (970) 668-4565 to connect with our Frisco Station office. You can also use our online form to request your appointment with either location.

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