Corns and Calluses: Extra Tough Patches
Layers add strength and durability. Think about it—cardboard is pretty flimsy, but a corrugated layer in between smooth sheets makes it much stronger. Thick, dense layers of concrete can support skyscrapers. Many layers of plastic and toughened glass can be bullet-proof. Your body understands this, too, and physical structures that experience high pressures will often get thicker to protect themselves. This is certainly true of the skin on your feet. Unfortunately, this can lead to corns and calluses.
Growing Thick Skin
Corns and calluses are similar skin conditions that affect your lower limbs. They both develop under pressure and friction as your body’s way of protecting itself. When a particular spot is under frequent stress and friction, your feet thicken the skin there to protect it. Patches of thicker, tougher skin are less likely to suffer painful damage.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always as helpful as it’s meant to be. Those extra layers of hardened, dead skin do protect patches from surface damage, but they can cause painful problems, too. Pressure on the thickened layers can be quite uncomfortable. You may find these lesions make it unpleasant for you to wear certain shoes. In some cases, they may actually increase your risk for foot ulcers.
Difference Between Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses, while similar, are not actually two different names for the same thing. Corns are small, raised bumps of hardened skin. Usually they are very small and round or conical in shape. Normally they develop in non-weight bearing areas, like the tops and sides of your toes, but they can appear on the soles of your feet in some instances. They can be very uncomfortable to press against.
Calluses, on the other hand, are large and flat patches of thickened skin. Normally they develop on the sole of your foot, under weight-bearing areas like the heel and ball of the foot. Generally they are thick, rough, and waxy-looking. These patches may or may not cause pain when you stand or walk on them. This partly depends on how thick they are and how much they press into the soft tissues underneath them.
How to Get Rid of Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses treatment doesn’t have to be hard. The most important step is removing or reducing the pressure on your foot that caused the problem in the first place. If the skin build-up is still too significant, you might need to have the patches removed. Sanjay Gandhi, DPM, and the staff of A Step Up Podiatry, LLC will examine your feet to see what contributed to the pressure and friction that caused these patches. Then we can help you determine the best treatment to deal with the uncomfortable skin lesions.
Alleviating pressure and friction on your feet may be all you need to address the issue. Frequently this means changing your shoes or socks. Stick to footwear that supports your lower limbs rather than contributes to excessive pressure in one place or another. You might need orthotics to add cushioning in high-risk spots, or correct problematic biomechanics. Fitted, moisture-wicking socks may help minimize friction against your skin as well.
Painful corns and calluses might need to be excised. Our team will carefully cut away the lesion without damaging healthy skin. In some cases, topical medication can soften the hardened layers and help them slough off. Very rarely is a corn or a callus big enough that you need a surgery to remove it. Whatever you do, don’t try to cut out the patch on your own.
Skin lesions like corns and calluses shouldn’t have to be a big concern for your feet. Don’t let them take control of your foot comfort—and if you have a condition like diabetes that puts you at high risk for foot ulcers, don’t wait for help! Contact our team at A Step Up Podiatry, LLC today. You can reach our Manalapan Township, NJ, office by calling (732) 446-7136.