Corns and calluses are two ways hyperkeratosis, or thickening of the outer layer of skin, appears on our feet. This is a normal protective response of the body when exposed to excessive pressure or friction. Common causes can range from bony prominences, bone deformities, and abnormalities in your walking pattern (gait) to improper fitting footwear, high-heeled footwear, firm seams in socks or footwear, and not wearing socks. Although calluses and corns can be painful and uncomfortable, they are not normally harmful. In less common but severe cases they may lead to infection or ulceration of the skin, especially among people with diabetes or poor circulation in their feet.
A callus is a more diffuse, flattened area of thickening skin. They are rarely painful. They usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heel, ball of the foot, or toes. They can vary in size, shape, and thickness. When the pressure persists and the skin continues to thicken, problems can arise in cracking skin, pain, and affect gait.
A corn can be hard or soft. Hard corns are a thick mass of dry skin with a hard central core. They are often cone-shaped and most often found on the top side of the foot at the 3rd, 4th and 5th toes. They have a dry, waxy or translucent appearance. They can press against nerves especially when in footwear that is poorly fitted.
Soft corns, also known as a heloma molle, are found between toes (interdigital) on the bony prominences of the bones. They can also occur in the web space. The softer or rubbery texture is due to the moisture trapped between the toes. The thickening skin, if left untreated, can become painful and even infected or ulcerated as it is viewed as a foreign body.
Corns and calluses can be treated and removed, however, if the cause of them is not also addressed they will come back.
What can we do at OKAPED to help?
A full foot and lower limb exam along with a gait analysis is performed to observe where the friction and pressure is coming from. With a biomechanical breakdown of your movement pattern we can advise you on methods to help correct or decrease pressure to calloused spots. We offer locally-made custom orthotics and over-the-counter insoles to help redistribute pressure forces and decrease gait abnormalities that cause friction. Our footwear recommendations or modifications can result in footwear that fits better and avoids seams and pressure in trouble spots. We also supply custom and over-the-counter toe spacers that can be fit to help alleviate issues between or under the toes. If Corns and Calluses are irritating you. Book and appointment with one of our Pedorthists to help determine a course of action to help solve the problem.