Calluses and corns are, thankfully, relatively minor problems affecting the feet. Yes, they can be painful at times, and they definitely look bad, but they’re not serious, medically speaking.
That’s little comfort if you develop a corn or a troublesome callus. If this happens, you probably want to get rid of it immediately. Here are some of the reasons calluses and corns develop, along with some information on how to best address them.
Firstly, How Do They Differ?
Calluses are typically white, or they have a yellow tint to them. You can tell you have a callus not only by color but also by touch. They are lumpy and hard, and they often appear on your feet. However, they may also show up on parts of your body that tend to have rough skin, such as your fingers or the palms of your hands.1
Corns differ in that they’re smaller and not as wide. Even though corns are considered to be a type of callus, there are some significant differences. For example, there are two kinds of corns – hard and soft.
A hard corn is small and typically located on the bony portion of your foot, or on other areas where your skin tends to be firmer. A soft corn has a whitish tint, and it feels almost like rubber. You’ll usually find soft corns on your feet, typically on the skin between your toes.2
Why Do We Develop Calluses and Corns?
There are a lot of reasons why calluses and corns might show up on your foot or some other part of your body. For example, if you wear poor-fitting shoes, you will be at a higher risk of developing a corn. This is because your foot slides and rubs against the inside of your shoe. This friction creates a protective thickening of your skin, which can result in corns or calluses.3
Certain types of shoes, such as high heels, can also contribute to corns.
The reason is they tend to put too much pressure on your feet. A bony foot provides a perfect environment for corns to develop because the skin doesn’t have enough natural cushioning. Corns can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious foot problem, such as a bunion.4
The main causes of calluses involve the continual rubbing of the skin. If you work with your hands on a regular basis, for example, you may eventually get a callus. If you walk a lot, you’ll be at a higher risk for a callus developing on the skin on the ball of your foot. This happens because the ball of your foot bears most of your body weight.5
There are other causes as well. These include a lack of fat padding in your feet or dry skin. People who handle objects for a good portion of the day, such as a tennis racquet or a hammer, will also be prone to calluses.
How to Get Rid of Corns and Calluses
If you’re wondering how to get rid of calluses and corns, there are many different types of effective products you can purchase. But there are other ways to address these issues.
For instance, you can try soaking the callus or corn in warm water for about 10 minutes. That’s about how long it will take for the skin to become soft. Then, use a pumice stone, and gently rub the affected area.
You have to be gentle, however. If you rub too aggressively, you could make your skin bleed. This could put you at risk of an infection.6 Use padding to keep the callus or corn from being irritated during the day, and keep the area moisturized.7
Talk to a podiatrist for more advice on how to safely remove a corn or callus.
How to Avoid Calluses and Corns
There are a few things you can do, in terms of basic foot care, to keep from having to deal with calluses or corns in the first place. For example, make sure you wear shoes that fit properly, allowing your toes to move around inside the shoe. If possible, avoid wearing high heels. Sky-high heels can put a lot of pressure on the front portion of your foot, which can lead to corns.8
Did you know that long toenails are one of the most common causes of corns? Take the time to keep your toenails trimmed. Too-long toenails also put too much pressure on your toes.9
The Bottom Line
Although corns and calluses are typically not serious, they can be very frustrating – and even painful – to deal with. But if you take some common-sense precautions, and pay attention to your skin, you might be able to avoid these issues.
If you do develop corns or calluses, talk to your doctor. Together, you can determine what’s causing them – and determine the best methods of getting rid of them.
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