In “Defeating Corns And Calluses On Feet: Your Step-by-Step Plan,” we delve into the effective strategies and practical techniques to combat the common foot ailments of corns and calluses. Led by the expertise of board-certified Dr. Lauren Dabakaroff from LMD Podiatry, this comprehensive guide offers a step-by-step plan to alleviate discomfort, improve foot health, and prevent future occurrences. Whether you are seeking surgical or non-surgical solutions, this article provides you with a reliable roadmap to tackle this issue and regain comfort in your daily life. Stay tuned to discover the expert advice and insights necessary to conquer corns and calluses for good.
Understanding Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are common foot problems that can cause discomfort and pain. It is important to understand the difference between the two in order to effectively treat and prevent them.
What are corns?
Corns are small, thickened areas of skin that typically develop on the feet and toes. They are often round or cone-shaped and have a hard, central core. Corns are caused by friction and pressure, usually from ill-fitting shoes or repetitive actions such as walking or running. They can be painful, especially when pressed or squeezed.
What are calluses?
Calluses, on the other hand, are larger and broader areas of thickened skin that develop in response to pressure or friction. Unlike corns, calluses do not have a distinct core and are usually not painful. They can develop on various parts of the feet, including the heels, soles, and sides.
Causes of corns and calluses
The most common cause of corns and calluses is ill-fitting footwear. High-heeled shoes and tight-fitting shoes can increase pressure on certain areas of the feet, leading to the development of corns and calluses. Other factors that can contribute to the formation of corns and calluses include bunions, foot deformities, strenuous activities, and even certain occupations that require prolonged standing or walking.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing corns and calluses. It is important to be aware of these risk factors in order to take appropriate preventive measures.
Wearing high-heeled shoes regularly can increase the risk of developing corns and calluses. The elevated heel places excessive pressure on the balls of the feet, leading to the formation of corns.
Shoes that are too tight can cause friction and pressure, leading to the development of corns and calluses. It is important to choose shoes that provide enough space for your toes to move comfortably.
Bunions, which are bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of the big toe, can cause friction and pressure, leading to the development of corns and calluses.
Certain foot deformities, such as hammertoes or claw toes, can increase the risk of developing corns and calluses. These deformities cause the toes to rub against the inside of the shoe, leading to friction and pressure.
Engaging in strenuous activities that involve repetitive actions, such as running or dancing, can increase the risk of developing corns and calluses. The constant friction and pressure on the feet can cause the skin to thicken and form these hardened areas.
Preventing corns and calluses is the key to avoiding the discomfort and pain they can cause. Here are some tips to help you prevent their formation.
Choosing the right shoes
One of the most important preventive measures is choosing the right shoes. Opt for shoes that provide enough space for your toes to move freely and do not squeeze or rub against any part of your feet. Look for shoes with a wide toe box and adequate cushioning.
Wearing orthotic inserts
Orthotic inserts can help distribute pressure evenly on your feet, reducing the risk of developing corns and calluses. These inserts provide support and cushioning, and can be used in both athletic and everyday shoes.
Moisturizing your feet
Keeping your feet moisturized can help prevent the formation of corns and calluses. Dry skin is more prone to friction and pressure, so regularly applying moisturizer can help keep the skin soft and supple.
Avoiding excessive pressure
Avoiding excessive pressure on your feet is essential in preventing corns and calluses. Take breaks when engaging in strenuous activities and avoid standing or walking for extended periods of time.
Regularly exfoliating your feet
Exfoliating your feet regularly can help remove dead skin cells and prevent the buildup of thickened skin. Use a gentle exfoliating scrub or a pumice stone to gently remove any rough patches and keep your feet smooth.
If you do develop corns or calluses, there are self-care techniques you can try to alleviate the discomfort and promote healing.
Soaking your feet
Soaking your feet in warm water can help soften the skin and make it easier to remove corns and calluses. Add a few drops of mild soap or Epsom salts to the water for added benefits. Soak your feet for about 10-15 minutes, then pat them dry.
Using a pumice stone
After soaking your feet, gently rub a pumice stone on the corn or callus in a circular motion. This will help remove the thickened skin and reduce the size of the corn or callus. Be careful not to rub too hard or remove too much skin, as this can cause bleeding or infection.
After exfoliating the corn or callus, apply a moisturizer to keep the skin soft and prevent further dryness and thickening. Look for a moisturizer that contains ingredients such as urea or lactic acid, which can help break down the thickened skin.
Using over-the-counter corn plasters
Over-the-counter corn plasters can provide temporary relief by cushioning the corn and reducing pressure. These plasters typically contain salicylic acid, which can help soften and remove the thickened skin.
Trimming and filing your nails
Trimming your nails regularly and filing them straight across can help prevent the formation of corns and calluses. Avoid cutting your nails too short or rounding the edges, as this can lead to ingrown toenails and increased pressure on the surrounding skin.
If self-care techniques do not provide sufficient relief or if the corns and calluses persist or become infected, it may be necessary to seek medical treatment. Here are some medical treatments that a podiatrist may recommend.
Salicylic acid treatments
A podiatrist may prescribe stronger salicylic acid treatments that can be applied directly to the corn or callus. These treatments help soften and remove the thickened skin, allowing for faster healing.
In some cases, medications may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation associated with corns and calluses. Topical or oral medications may be recommended, depending on the severity of the condition.
If conservative treatments are not effective, a podiatrist may recommend surgical removal of the corn or callus. This is usually a last resort and is only recommended in severe cases or if there are underlying foot deformities contributing to the problem.
Cryotherapy involves freezing the corn or callus with liquid nitrogen to destroy the cells and remove the thickened skin. This procedure is done under the supervision of a healthcare professional and may require multiple treatments.
Laser therapy is another option for the removal of corns and calluses. The laser targets the thickened skin, breaking it down and allowing for healthy skin to regenerate. This treatment is typically less invasive than surgical removal and may require multiple sessions.
When to Seek Professional Help
While many cases of corns and calluses can be managed with self-care techniques, there are situations where it is important to seek professional help. Here are some signs that indicate it is time to see a podiatrist.
If you are experiencing persistent pain, even after trying self-care techniques, it is important to seek professional help. A podiatrist can help identify the underlying cause of the pain and provide appropriate treatment.
If corns or calluses are causing difficulty walking or affecting your mobility, it is important to consult a podiatrist. They can help determine the best course of action to alleviate the pain and allow you to move comfortably.
If a corn or callus becomes infected, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, pus, and increased pain or tenderness. Infections can be serious and may require antibiotics or other treatments.
Diabetes or poor circulation
Individuals with diabetes or poor circulation are at a higher risk of developing complications from corns and calluses. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it is important to consult a podiatrist for proper evaluation and treatment.
Recurring corns or calluses
If corns or calluses keep recurring despite your best efforts to prevent them, it is recommended to see a podiatrist. They can help identify any underlying factors contributing to the recurrence and provide appropriate treatment and preventive measures.
In addition to self-care techniques, there are some at-home remedies that may help alleviate discomfort and promote healing of corns and calluses.
Apple cider vinegar soak
Soaking your feet in a mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar can help soften the skin and reduce the size of corns and calluses. Mix equal parts warm water and apple cider vinegar and soak your feet for about 10-15 minutes.
Epsom salt soak
Adding Epsom salts to warm water can help reduce inflammation and soften the skin. Soak your feet for about 10-15 minutes to relieve discomfort and promote healing.
Tea tree oil application
Tea tree oil has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it a good choice for treating corns and calluses. Apply a few drops of tea tree oil to a cotton ball and dab it onto the affected area. Cover with a bandage and leave it overnight.
Lemon juice exfoliation
Lemon juice acts as a natural exfoliator and can help remove dead skin cells. Cut a lemon in half and rub it directly onto the corn or callus. Leave the juice on for about 10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
Aloe vera gel application
Aloe vera gel has soothing and moisturizing properties that can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Apply a generous amount of aloe vera gel to the corn or callus and cover with a bandage. Leave it on overnight for best results.
Choosing the right footwear is crucial in preventing corns and calluses. Here are some tips for selecting the right shoes.
Choosing the right shoe size
Make sure to measure your feet properly and choose shoes that are the correct size. Shoes that are too small or too big can increase the risk of developing corns and calluses.
Avoiding high heels
High-heeled shoes can put excessive pressure on the balls of your feet, leading to the formation of corns and calluses. Opt for shoes with lower heels or flats that provide more cushioning and support.
Opting for wider toe boxes
Choose shoes with wider toe boxes to provide enough space for your toes to move comfortably. Narrow or pointed toe shoes can squeeze the toes together, leading to friction and pressure.
Using shoe inserts or orthotics
Consider using shoe inserts or orthotics to provide additional cushioning and support to your feet. These inserts can help distribute pressure evenly and reduce the risk of developing corns and calluses.
Replacing old and worn-out shoes
Regularly check your shoes for signs of wear and replace them when necessary. Worn-out shoes can cause uneven pressure and increase the risk of developing corns and calluses.
Once you have successfully treated corns and calluses, it is important to take steps to prevent their recurrence. Here are some tips to help you prevent their return.
Continue to moisturize your feet regularly, even after the corns or calluses have healed. This will help keep the skin soft and prevent dryness and thickening.
Wearing cushioning insoles
Consider using cushioning insoles in your shoes, even after the corns or calluses have healed. These insoles provide additional support and cushioning, reducing the risk of developing new corns and calluses.
Monitoring foot health
Regularly inspect your feet for any signs of corns or calluses. Check for any areas of thickened skin or discomfort, and take appropriate action if necessary.
Avoiding prolonged pressure
Avoid prolonged pressure on your feet whenever possible. Take breaks when standing or walking for extended periods of time, and try to engage in activities that allow for regular resting periods.
Maintaining proper foot hygiene
Maintaining good foot hygiene is essential in preventing corns and calluses. Keep your feet clean and dry, and regularly trim and file your nails to prevent ingrown toenails and pressure on the surrounding skin.
Taking care of your feet is essential for your overall foot health and comfort. Understanding the causes of corns and calluses, as well as the preventive measures and treatment options available, can help you effectively manage these common foot problems. If self-care techniques do not provide sufficient relief or if the corns and calluses persist or become infected, it is important to seek professional help from a podiatrist. By adopting preventive measures and enjoying healthy and comfortable feet, you can keep corns and calluses at bay and maintain optimal foot health.