Corns and calluses are a build up of hard, thickened skin on areas which are receiving pressure. They are amongst the most common problems of the skin of the feet. Corns are basically compacted areas of callus forming a central nucleus or core.
The skin naturally develops callus to protect areas of trauma. Corms and calluses can become painful as they get larger and put pressure on the normal underlying skin and its nerve endings.
On the feet, corns and calluses are often found on the top or ends of toes and the ball of the foot, as these are the areas of skin which get pressure as we walk. If the foot is an unusual shape you may get calluses on skin overlaying a bony prominence.
Tight footwear (especially court style or slip-on shoes) can cause calluses to develop. At times a callus will build up over scar tissue, as it is not as elastic as normal skin. Some people also have genetic conditions that cause excessive build up of calluses.
A podiatrist will treat a callus by debriding it away with a sterile scalpel. This is not normally painful. Your podiatrist may make padding to protect the skin that is under pressure and advise you on footwear.
Sometimes insoles or orthotics (devices which realign a mechanical disturbance of the foot) may help.
It is best to avoid medicated home cures that contain chemicals which can damage the healthy skin near the corn and can cause pain, infection or ulceration.
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