Corns and Callous Management: A Comprehensive Guide [2023]

Introduction

Corns and callouses – these are two foot foes that can turn your daily stroll into a painful journey.

If you’ve ever felt like your feet were rougher than a sandpaper factory, you’re not alone.

Fear not, because in this guide, we’re diving deep into the world of foot corns and callouses.

From understanding their causes to seeking the expert help of a podiatrist, we’ve got your back – or should we say, your feet – covered!

Defining Corns and Callouses

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s break down what corns and calluses actually are.

These are thickened areas of skin that develop on the feet due to constant pressure, friction, or irritation.

Callous:
A diffuse, or more spread out area of thickened skin often on areas of the feet that either take the most pressure, or absorb the most friction from shoes or exercise.

Corns:
A much more concentrated area of thickened skin, usually caused by direct pressure from the ground, footwear, or between the toes.
Corns tend to be more painful because of their density and their shape.
The word “corn” comes from the cone shape they form with a sharp point deeper into the skin and a round disc on the surface.

Corns and callouses can both be expertly removed by your podiatrist. They have the exact tools, plus vast experience in removing corns and callouses.

Removal of corns and callouses is one of the first things Podiatrists learn at university, and continues to be something that they do every day in their profession.

A picture of the bottom surface of a foot with some callous which has a label and a corn with a nucleus which is also labelled.

Causes of Corns and Calluses

Now, let’s talk about the culprits behind these pesky foot problems.

Pressure and friction on specific areas of the feet is the main cause of corns and callouses.

These stresses can be caused by several things including:

  • ill-fitting footwear including pointy toed or high heeled shoes,
  • high levels of activity – some of your favourite things can cause stress on your feet including running, organised sport, trail walking and many others,
  • foot and toe deformities – conditions including bunions, hammer toes, clawed toes or over-lapping toes can put undue stress on the joints within your toes, also leading to corns and callouses.

 

Here is an illustration showing how a hammer toe can cause pressure of the toe on the shoe which can then lead to c corn developing.

An illustration of a "hammer toe" showing how the toe points upwards at the first joint and down at the second joint causing pressure.

Here's The Deal:

Dealing with corns and calluses requires a mix of TLC and common sense. Let’s break down the do’s and don’ts:

Do:

  • Wear Proper Shoes: Most Important!  Opt for shoes that fit well, provide ample cushioning, and don’t squeeze your toes.
  • Keep Feet Moisturised: Regularly moisturising your feet can help prevent dryness and cracking, reducing the likelihood of corns and calluses.

Don’t:   (N.B. Crucial for people with Diabetes and/or Peripheral Neuropathy).

  • Trim Them Yourself!  Many injuries and infections have occurred in people who try to cut off corns and callouses themselves! 
  • Use Medicated Pads from the chemist – often these pads contain acids which can actually burn a hole in your foot! This can lead to an ulcer which can become infected and takes months of treatment to fix. 
  • Ignore Pain: Pain is your body’s way of telling you something’s not right. Ignoring corns and callouses will always make them worse, and cause more pain and possibly even wounds.
  • Smoking – I bet that one surprised you! But smoking can lead to very deep corns on the bottom of the feet which can become very painful. It is believed that smoking damages the tiny blood vessels in the feet causing a change to the way the skin grows.

Prevention is Key

Prevention is always better than the cure.

So follow the Dos and Don’ts above to make sure you are less chance of getting painful corns and callouses.

If they do happen, we’ve got you! Podiatrists are the experts in removing corns and callouses and can give you great advice as well.

When to Seek Help from a Podiatrist

While a little foot pampering at home can go a long way, there are times when a podiatrist’s expertise is essential.

If you experience persistent pain, inflammation, or notice any signs of infection like redness, pus, or increased warmth, it’s time to schedule an appointment.

Podiatrists are foot experts who can accurately diagnose the issue and recommend the right treatment plan.

How a Podiatrist Can Help

Podiatrists are the primary health carers for lower limb conditions including corns and callouses. Here are some of the ways that we can get you back to pain free walking.

Professional Trimming: A podiatrist can safely trim away the excess layers of skin without the risk of infection.

Padding: We can provide expertly designed and placed offloading padding to prevent your corns from returning as quickly.

A custom foot orthotic with an aqua coloured background

Custom Orthotics: 
shoe inserts made directly from a three dimensional laser scan of your feet. These help to more evenly spread the pressure in your feet and are designed to offload areas that are under duress, that cause corns and callouses.

 

To learn more about custom orthotics see our post here.

Footwear Advice:

Get expert guidance on choosing shoes that fit your feet’s unique shape and needs. 

Whether it’s for sport, general exercise, or even a fancy night out, we can steer you in the right direction to getting footwear that you won’t regret later.

In a nutshell, dealing with corns and calluses is all about finding the right balance between self-care and expert help.

With proper footwear, regular foot checks, and the assistance of a podiatrist, you can put your best foot forward without the fear of corns and calluses cramping your style.

Remember, your feet deserve the very best, so treat them with the care they deserve!

Conclusion

In a nutshell, dealing with corns and calluses is all about finding the right balance between self-care and expert help.

Making sure that we wear comfortable footwear and applying moisturiser can help a lot. 

Sometimes you’ll need to call in your Podiatrist, the experts in corns and callouses.

Remember, your feet deserve the very best, so treat them with the care they deserve!

To make an appointment at Dynamic Podiatry call 3351 8878 or click the button below to book online.

Please note that this information is general in nature only and does not replace the need for advice from your podiatrist.

The Dynamic Podiatry logo orange and navy with a foot in the "D"