Why do corns and callouses occur?
Corns and callouses usually build up on areas where there is increased pressure or friction on the foot. Sometimes this can be due to footwear rubbing on the foot, or due to the biomechanical structure of the foot. It is true that some people are more prone to developing corns and callouses than others, and the type of corn or callous a person develops is very individual.
What is the difference between a corn and a callous?
A callous usually covers a larger area than a corn and is of uniform thickness. These often develop on the ball of the foot or around the heel. They are sometimes painful but not always.
A corn occurs where there is a lot of pressure on one small area which causes the thickened skin to become deeper in the middle of the area creating a ‘core’. This ‘core’ can be very painful and is often described as feeling like there is a stone in the shoe. Corns often occur on the top of the toes, between the toes, or on the ball of the foot.
How are corns and callouses treated?
Corns and callouses can generally be removed on the spot by a podiatrist, and in most cases it is painless. There are over the counter treatments available which involve applying a bandage that contains an acid over the corn to try to soften the skin and make the corn to come off. These treatments are not usually recommended as they are not often effective and can cause damage to the surrounding skin.
People with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease are never advised to use them. A podiatrist can assess your foot to determine why the corns and callouses are occurring and advise any measures you may be able to take to prevent them such as changing footwear or using an orthotic device or insole.