Podiatric Strategies for Managing Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses, though seemingly innocuous, can cause significant discomfort and affect daily life. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into effective podiatric strategies for managing these common foot ailments.

From preventive measures to surgical interventions, we explore a spectrum of approaches tailored to alleviate pain and enhance foot health. Whether it’s understanding the root causes, implementing home remedies, or seeking professional consultation, this article equips you with the knowledge to navigate corns and calluses effectively.

Join us as we unravel the intricacies of podiatric care, empowering you to stride confidently toward relief and long-term management of corns and calluses.

Preventive Measures

Corns and calluses are the body’s natural response to prolonged or repeated pressure and friction on a spot of skin. These thick areas of hardened skin may appear on the feet, toes, or hands. They can be painful, and if left untreated, they can bleed. A person can prevent the formation of corns and calluses by wearing shoes that fit well, using padding, and taking other self-care measures.

If you have a foot problem that makes you more prone to developing corns and calluses, such as hammertoes or bunions, your healthcare provider can give you tips on how to prevent them. For example, he or she might recommend that you soak your feet and hands in warm water until the skin softens — this can help reduce irritation from rubbing against shoes and socks. You might also use a pumice stone or nail file to trim away the thickened skin after it’s been softened in warm water.

You should avoid cutting corns or calluses, especially if they are painful, bleed easily, or produce pus. This could lead to an infection. If a corn or callus becomes very painful, leaks fluid feels warm, or is red, you should seek medical advice as it may be infected. Infections are more likely in people with diabetes or other health conditions that cause poor circulation and those who wear tight shoes.

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Home Remedies

Corns and calluses are a result of pressure or friction in one or more areas of the foot. The body responds by developing thickened skin in an attempt to protect the underlying tissues. Over time this can become painful and unsightly. Prevention starts with good footwear – especially shoes that fit well and don’t restrict the feet. Keeping the skin of the feet soft and moisturised is also important.

Over-the-counter products are available that contain strong acids that peel this excess skin away. However, these may cause chemical burns and should not be used by diabetics. A better option is to soak the feet each day in warm soapy water and use a pumice stone or emery board to gently “file” the dead skin. This is very important to avoid tearing and bleeding of the thickened skin. After filing, apply a good moisturizer to the area.

Individuals who are diabetic or have poor circulation should seek podiatric care immediately if their corns or calluses become painful and inflamed. For these individuals, the loss of sensation in the feet can make them unaware that they are rubbing or compressing the sensitive areas of the foot until serious complications develop. Podiatrists can safely trim calluses and corns in the office, usually without anesthesia. They can also recommend shoe inserts (orthotics) to prevent recurrence and surgery to correct deformities that lead to increased rubbing and friction e.g. bunions and hammer toes.

Surgical Procedures

If corns and calluses are left untreated, they can become painful, irritated, and develop inflamed skin or even break down into a sore. These conditions can also impact the quality of an individual’s life by causing chronic discomfort and making everyday activities difficult.

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A healthcare provider can usually diagnose a corn or callus by examining the affected area of the foot. They may ask you about your daily routine to understand if the condition is caused by footwear or activity and they can take X-rays of your foot if necessary.

Your healthcare provider can recommend pads and protectors to help reduce the friction causing your corn or callus. They can be worn between the toes, on top of or underneath a callus, and are often available at drugstores. They can be a great preventative measure to keep the friction from reoccurring.

Surgical removal of corns and calluses is usually reserved for those cases where less invasive methods have not been successful in alleviating your symptoms. In most cases, the procedure is done under local anesthesia. The surgeon will make an elliptical incision over the corn and will then remove the horny layer of skin along with the underlying bone prominence.

Your health care provider may also prescribe padded shoe inserts (orthotics) to help reduce the friction that causes your corn or callus. This is a good option for those with a recurring issue as it addresses the root cause of the corn and callus.

Consultation with a Podiatrist

If you have corns and calluses that are painful or are affecting your ability to walk or stand, you should seek professional advice from the podiatrists in Talaria Podiatrist of Thornbury (view website here). You can try some at-home treatments, like using a pumice stone or foot file, moisturising cream, or foam wedge to relieve pressure, or wearing looser shoes that allow the toes more room. However, it’s important not to attempt self-treatment if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or are taking medication that affects your feet (such as antibiotics).

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A thorough examination is the first step in treating corns and calluses. The podiatrist may use X-rays to assess the condition of your feet, watch how you walk, and take your medical history. They will also ask what causes the corns and calluses to develop, such as pressure or friction. The podiatrist can diagnose corns and calluses by examining the thickened skin and paring away a bit of it, to see if it bleeds or reveals black points (dried blood).

Once they have examined the area, your podiatrist will remove the corn or callus using specific sterilised medical instruments. They will then advise on management solutions to reduce pain in the short term and prevent recurrence over the long term. Generally, patients will be given toe separators for footwear to help keep the toes apart and stop them from rubbing together (particularly in high heels). A regular 6-weekly review for foot and nail care is also recommended to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Corns and calluses may be common, but they need not be debilitating. By embracing preventive measures, seeking timely professional guidance, and adopting appropriate interventions, individuals can effectively manage these foot conditions. Remember, proactive foot care is key to preserving comfort and mobility. With the insights gained from this guide, you can confidently navigate the journey toward relief and long-term foot health.