Callus is thickened, hard skin that develops on the foot in areas that are subjected to increased friction or pressure. Corns appear as a thickening of the skin with a central hard core, these can develop on the pressure areas of the under surface of the foot or the tops of the toes.
This thickening appears as a cone shaped mass pointing down into the skin and is often surrounded by callous.
They are actually a normal and natural way for the body to protect itself (the soft tissues beneath the skin). When the pressure continues the skin gets thicker and becomes painful. This often feels as though you are “walking on pebbles”.
There are three main types of corns or callus which occur on our feet:
- Callus can occur anywhere on the foot that is susceptible to increased pressure. It appears as a thickened diffuse area of hard skin which is yellowish in colour and can often have cracks within them.
- Hard corns are usually located on the outer surface of the little toe or on the upper surface of the other toes, but can occur between the toes as well as the bottom of the foot over a prominent bone or an area of high pressure.
- A soft corn occurs between the toes and often appears white and macerated. These can be aggravated by a tinea pedis (fungal) infection due to the moist nature of the soft corn.
- Deformities of the toes such as hammer toes, claw toes, bunions – all predispose the foot to areas of increased pressure.
- Tight or poor fitting footwear.
- Gait abnormalities which cause the foot to be overloaded in particular areas and bony prominences.
- The callus is reduced using a blade and the corn is enucleated in the same manner. It is usually a relatively painless procedure to remove the build up of skin. This should give you immediate relief.
- Footwear advice or modification can reduce the occurrence of callus and corns.
- If there is an underlying biomechanical abnormality that is a contributory case – orthotics may be considered.