What Are Corns and Calluses?
Corns and calluses are simply an excessive build up of dead skin or keratin. They are sometimes referred to as hyperkeratosis by Doctors and health professionals. A callus is an excessive build up of dead skin over a broader surface area whereas a corn is defined as a very localised are of dead skin with a very dense central core.
There are four main types of corns encountered by podiatrists. These include:
- Hard Corns which are normally seen on the top of toes or beneath the feet where weight is borne.
- Soft Corns are lesions which tend to occur between the toes.
- Seed Corns are very small corns the size of pinheads which tend to occur in conjunction with dry skin conditions.
- Neurovascular Corns contain blood vessels and/or nerves and can often be mistaken for warts.
What Causes Corns and Calluses?
Corns and calluses are simply caused by an excessive build up of dead skin meaning you normally see corns forming on parts of the skin subjected to excessive pressure or irritation. The only exception to this rule is seed corns which can occur on non-weight bearing surfaces.
Considering most corns and calluses are caused by excessive pressure or friction, poor fitting footwear (narrow or tight shoes) can be a major contributing factor in their formation. However, corns can often be seen on the soles of the feet as a result of poor alignment or overloading of the metatarsal heads (or bones of the forefoot).
In summary, Podiatrists understand the underlying causes of corns are likely to be:
- Ill fitting shoes; and /or
- Incorrect foot alignment and force distribution during walking; and/or
- Dry skin or post operative scar tissue formation.
How Are Corns and Calluses Treated?
Podiatrists will generally treat both types of hard skin lesions in two ways. This two step approach attempts to treat the symptons (corns) and the cause (pressure and/or friction).
Firstly, our local Adelaide Podiatrists will carefully remove or debride the corn or callus. This is usually performed painlessly using specific sterilised medical instruments.
IMPORTANT Tip Number 1:
Corns and calluses should only be removed by trained registered Podiatrists using sterilised instruments to ensure every effort is made to avoid any possible infection.
Secondly, your Podiatrist will usually investigate the underlying cause of the corn/callus by assessing your gait, analysing your footwear and examining your foot structure and alignment. Your Podiatrist should then offer appropriate advice on treatment and management solutions to help reduce pain in the short term and further prevent recurrence of the corns and calluses over the long term.
IMPORTANT Tip Number 2:
Corn pads, acidic corn solutions, corn plasters or paints containing acid can be dangerous and cause ulceration especially if you suffer with diabetes or circulation disorders. For this reason corn removal pads are not recommended.
Following removal of your corn, if your Podiatrist determines the cause of the corn/callus to be ill-fitting footwear, shoe advice and footwear modifications may be needed and advised. This may include shoe stretching, increased cushining, insoles or a new pair of carefully fitted shoes.
IMPORTANT Tip Number 3:
Never attempt “at home” surgery. Always seek professional advice from a qualified Podiatrist if you suspect you have a corn. Corns can often be confused with warts which are caused by a virus. Your Podiatrist has been trained to distinguish the difference.
If your Podiatrist determines the cause of your lesions to be eneven force distribution during walking or stance, the method of prevention may involve custom made orthotics, padded insoles, foot mobilisation/manipulation and, in some cases, custom made footwear.
Treatment of corns and calluses can be very successful and complete resolution is possible in many cases if the lesions are assessed and examined correctly by trained Podiatrists.
Do you need help with corns and calluses?
If you think you have a problem with corns or calluses, give our experienced Adelaide Podiatrists a call on 8362 5900. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment by booking online 24/7.