Corns (heloma durum) and callus (hyperkeratosis) are common skin problems affecting people of different ages. These conditions can often be the source of significant pain and discomfort, leading to reduced mobility and quality of life.
Callus is an area of thick, hardened skin that develops over an area of the foot exposed to repeated pressure or friction. This is the body’s natural defence mechanism to pressure and initially is not painful. However, if allowed to build up too much calluses can become quite uncomfortable.
Corns are an area of callus that has been compacted with sustained and repeated pressure until the central region forms a hard core. Corns are often very painful, causing sufferers to avoid certain shoes, activities and even changing the way they walk to avoid placing any pressure on the area.
Corns and calluses are usually able to be diagnosed by visual examination and palpation by a podiatrist.
Features may include hard, rough, dry or flaky areas of skin, hardened raised bumps or an area of tenderness/pain. These lesions occur almost exclusively on weight bearing surfaces or areas that are exposed to rubbing or friction. Common sites for corns and callus include around the underside of the heel, ball of the foot, the outside of the little toes or the inside aspect of the great toe.
How to treat corns or callus's
Corns and callus are conditions we see daily at Shellharbour Podiatry. Treatment will usually consist of a combination of the following:
– Gentle removal of the hard skin making up the corn / callus. In the case of the corn, the centre is removed. This generally provides immediate relief. This is available through a general treatment
– Deflective in-shoe padding to reduce pressure at the problem area and slow or prevent the formation
– Footwear advice
– Advice around the use of moisturisers and emollients, which can slow reformation.
– Orthotics can be used to redistribute pressure on the foot, reduce excessive weight-bearing forces and provide long-term relief.
We recommend against the use of medicated patches available for purchase over-the-counter. At best these only provide temporary relief and at worst can cause damage to healthy tissue adjacent to the problem area and even infection.
Without addressing the causative factors, callus/corns will continue to form. The rate of recurrence is based on the degree of pressure or friction. If you are not satisfied with how frequently you are experiencing recurrence of your symptoms, make an appointment and we can discuss options to slow or prevent your corns or callus from forming.
We find that these home abrasive devices can be effective in slowing reformation of corns and callus. Once a corn has formed or callus is sufficiently thick, no amount of ‘pumice-ing’ will remove it! If you are going to use these devices, please be careful not to damage healthy skin in the process.
In a healthy individual if there is no pain/discomfort and not affecting gait there is no urgency to remove it. However in the case of individuals who are immunocompromised, have diabetes or poor peripheral blood flow a podiatry review is recommended.
If these lesions are causing pain and changing the way that you are walking, then it is imperative that these are treated. A long term limp can lead to changes in how joints are used (knees, hips and lower back) and arthritic changes as a result.