Corns and calluses are thick, hard layers of skin that form on the feet or toes. They may appear as hard raised bumps or as rough and dry patches on the skin. They form to prevent blisters. Typically, corns and calluses do not cause problems other than pain or discomfort, but if you are diabetic, they may lead to further complications.
The Difference Between Corns and Calluses
Both corns and calluses develop when your skin tries to protect itself from rubbing, irritation, and pressure. These hard layers of skin may seem the same, but there are differences between the two:
- Corns. Corns are smaller and have a hard center. The skin around the center of a corn can become inflamed, and the corn can be painful. Corns form on the non-weight bearing parts of the foot such as the tips and sides. Some corns can form between the toes.
- Calluses. Calluses do not cause pain like corns do. They are larger and can develop on areas of the foot that are under pressure from weight such as the soles and balls of the foot. Calluses can form under the heels or on any area of the foot where there is friction.
Causes of Corns and Calluses
Because corns and calluses develop due to pressure and friction, they can be caused by the following:
- Shoes. Wearing shoes that do not fit properly, are too tight, or have a high heel can cause rubbing and friction.
- Socks. Not wearing socks to protect your feet can lead to the formation of corns and calluses.
- Excessive weight. Being overweight can put additional pressure on your feet.
Additionally, there are certain conditions that can put you at a higher risk for developing corns and calluses. According to our Keller foot doctor, these include having a bunion, hammertoe, foot deformity, or bone spur.
An important part of diabetes management is doing daily checks of your feet for any abnormalities or changes. Many problems go undetected because diabetes can cause poor circulation and a loss of sensation in the feet. Having diabetes can make wounds slow to heal or not heal at all. If you notice any corns or calluses, contact our Keller foot doctor for an evaluation.
Once you are examined and the corns or calluses are diagnosed, treatment options can be discussed with our Keller foot doctor. At-home treatment for corns and calluses may consist of the following:
- Wearing shoes that fit properly
- Protecting the corns or calluses with cushioning pads
- Avoiding whatever caused the corns or calluses to develop
In addition, your foot doctor may recommend the following options to provide relief:
- Trimming thickened skin. A corn can be trimmed down in a podiatrist’s office. This method should never be done at home since it can put you at risk for developing an infection. This is important for diabetic patients because some wounds on the feet can lead to gangrene or even amputation.
- Medication. There are medications that can be used to remove calluses from the feet and are applied in the form of a patch containing salicylic acid. Depending on the severity of the callus, there are both prescription strength and over-the-counter patch options. People with diabetes need to use caution with these types of products since they can damage surrounding tissue and put them at risk for ulcers.
- Custom orthotics. Orthotics can be worn inside the shoes to reduce pressure on certain areas of the feet and help prevent corns and calluses from recurring or forming.
- Surgery. In severe cases, surgery can be done to correct the bone alignment that is the underlying reason for the corns and calluses.
Tips for Prevention
Proper foot care is essential for those with diabetes. There are some simple ways to take care of your feet, so you prevent corns and calluses as well as problems associated with each. Prevention includes:
- Wearing shoes that fit properly
- Never walking barefoot
- Keeping your feet well-moisturized and never moisturizing between your toes
- Never soaking your feet for long periods of time
- Keeping your toenails trimmed straight across
- Avoiding sandals with material that can rub between your toes
- Never cutting corns or calluses at home
- Contacting your podiatrist at the first sign of a problem
Contact Our Keller Foot Doctor for Assistance Today!
If you have corns and calluses on your feet or are experiencing pain and discomfort, contact our Keller foot doctor for an evaluation. To schedule an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our online contact form, or call us today.