Corns and Calluses: Your Feet Deserve Better Says Podiatrist
We love our shoes, but sometimes, our feet don’t love what shoes can do to them. Corns and calluses are so common that we can be pardoned for thinking that we have to live with them, but a leading Sydney-based podiatrist says that’s just not true. “Your feet deserve better,” says Mark Lin of the Footwork Clinic.
The origin of corns and calluses is the same – they both come from the skin’s response to friction from footwear. Calluses are normally bigger, and although they can be ugly, they usually aren’t painful. Corns, on the other hand, are usually smaller with a distinct centre surrounded by an inflamed area.
“The hardened skin of the corn or callus exerts pressure on the more supple, living tissue beneath it, and that’s why these patches of dead skin can cause pain,” explains Dr. Lin.
Types of Corns: Five Routes to Unhappy Feet
There’s more to corns than meets the eye – both literally and figuratively. Mark Lin’s explanation of the types of corn one can get is something of an eye-opener.
First of all, there are hard corns – they’re the ones that form where pressure on the skin is direct. There’s usually plenty of callus around them, and they hurt when pressure is applied.
Seed corns, on the other hand, while occurring in similar places and for the same reasons, often don’t hurt at all. They’re smaller, and we usually find them on the undersides of feet.
Then, there are soft corns. They’re usually found in between toes, and they’re soft because the sweat from our feet prevents the skin from being as hard. Nevertheless, they can be painful.
The two really nasty types of corn are vascular corns and fibrous corns. “Neurovascular corns have nerves and blood vessels in them. If that sounds sore to you, you’re right!” says Dr. Lin. As for fibrous corns, they’re corns that have been around for a long time. By now, they’re really deeply attached and they can be very painful.”
How to Treat Corns and Calluses
Most people are already doing as much as they can at home for corns and calluses when they use a pumice stone and moisturising creams on their feet during their usual personal care routines, says Dr. Lin. “Unfortunately, some people are experiencing so much discomfort, that they go even further, and that can cause worse problems than the corns themselves.”
“We see some people trying to cut corns out with a blade. They can easily injure themselves badly or end up with infected wounds. So-called corn pads are also a bad idea. Most of them use salicylic acid to break down the skin, but the acid ultimately causes wounds or even ulcers to form, and infection is a real danger.”
When to See a Podiatrist
It’s a little-known fact: podiatrists can and do treat corns and calluses as part of their regular work. Of course, it isn’t always necessary to see one. For example, you might stop wearing a pair of shoes that were harming your feet, and with a little care and attention, the corns or calluses get better on their own. But sometimes, you can’t solve the problem with a pumice stone and a new pair of shoes.
That’s when you need a podiatrist to help you, says Dr. Lin. “We can remove corns and calluses safely, and we help to reduce the chances of corns recurring,” he says. “If you are a diabetic or have a compromised immune system, you should probably see us as soon as you notice corns because your feet need special care.”
“Whatever you do, and no matter how much your feet hurt, do not try using a blade on them. Soak them in a footbath for relief and make an appointment with a podiatrist.”
For further information, visit the The Footwork Clinic – Leading Sports, Podiatry, Foot And Lower Limb Corrective Services to book online, or call Mark Lin or his friendly team on +61 2 9131 6891.
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The information contained in this guide is provided in good faith and is not intended to be nor is it to be used as a substitute for any sort of professional, medical or podiatric advice. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a podiatrist. Any users should always seek the advice of their podiatrist, or other qualified healthcare providers before commencing any treatment.