What are corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are hardened skin that develops due to gradual consistent loading pressure on the skin.
Corns have a centre of hardness due to localised pressure. This type of pressure forms a circular hard centre that can penetrate deeper into the skin and cause pain if the pressure is not offloaded, or corn removed.
Calluses are more diffuse areas of hard skin which can equally cause pain or discomfort if not reduced.
Corns and calluses are most common on the toes, ball and heels of the feet and can be a result of repetitive friction or rubbing from poorly fitting footwear. Deformities of the feet such as bunions and hammer toes can also cause corns and callus. Heavy loading on the feet due to high impact activity or bodyweight are also a common factor.
Some medical conditions such as arthritis commonly cause this too. This is due to their lack of mobility in the joints caused by arthritis which subjects these areas to constant rubbing. Arthritis is also associated with bunions and hammertoes which commonly cause corns and calluses.
Contrary to common belief footwear that may feel comfortable can cause corns and calluses if they are unsupportive or have not been fitted properly. Footwear that is not appropriate for the activity you may be doing such as walking or running can cause corns and calluses.
Commonly, corns and calluses appear on the ends of the toes, on top of the toes, between the toes, and under the ball of the foot. Any prominence on the foot can predispose the area to a corn or callus arising.
The edge of the heel is another common location where these can develop. This happens very often if you tend to walk barefoot a lot. Many people will walk barefoot at home especially in the summer months. By not using shoes very much the skin on the edge of the heels will be subjected to repetitive rubbing and friction.
The result is a build-up of calluses and even corns causing discomfort and pain. If heel callus is left untreated it will often develop painful cracks that extend down to the healthy skin. When this happens, pain is often the result. More importantly, cracks in heel can provide a portal for infection to develop. In people with conditions like diabetes or vascular disease, heel cracks can lead to serious infection and the need to be admitted to the hospital to prevent amputation.
How we treat corns and calluses
At Adelaide Foot and Ankle, our podiatrists can painlessly and effectively treat corns and calluses providing instant relief.
Our assessment and treatment include:
- Diagnosis of the underlying cause
- Debridement (removal) of the lesions
- Advice on paddings and other accommodative methods to reduce the frequency of corn and callus development.
- Education by our podiatrists on good footwear choices.
- Custom orthotics to correct gait and offload high-pressure areas
- Surgical correction to correct foot and ankle deformities and eliminate corns and calluses.
For many patients, the best treatment is to have regular consultations with our podiatrists. However, we will always explain the cause of your corns and calluses and advice on the best treatment options. At Adelaide Foot and Ankle we can diagnose and treat your corns and callus in the best way possible keeping you active!