Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin that develop on areas of the foot. They are caused by friction between your foot and your shoes. While they may be unsightly, their tough exterior actually protects your foot from excessive pressure or friction. When kids play outside all summer barefoot, their feet are toughened and protected from cuts and scrapes by a thick layer of calluses.
Calluses are thickened areas of skin on the bottom of the foot. Corns appear on the top or sides of the foot and toes.
Both corns and calluses usually have a rough appearance. They can be raised or rounded. It might be difficult to differentiate them from warts from appearance alone. Their rough feel can be a problem. In some cases larger calluses can dry out and crack. This can be painful and increases the possibility of infection. Highly callused feet were certainly an advantage before shoes were invented; today they are usually unwanted.
Why do Corns and Calluses Develop?
There are two main causes of corns and calluses:
- Ill-fitting shoes – Shoes that are too tight will cause hot spots to form. Repeated friction in these areas can lead to the development of corns and calluses. High heels are the main reason women get corns and calluses. Increased pressure on the ball of the foot and toes can lead to more friction and the development of corns and calluses on the front of the foot.
- Foot deformities – Hammer toes – the abnormal bending of the toe joint (it looks like an upside-down V) – are often a cause of corns and calluses. This condition increases friction between you toes and your shoes.
- Overpronation – Overpronation causes arches to flatten and elongate. As this happens the ball of the foot moves forward and rubs on the inside of the shoe or sandal. This rubbing often causes calluses.
Preventing Corns and Calluses
Often, corns and calluses won’t cause pain or any adverse effects in your daily life. If you develop them, take a look at your shoes to see if they are the cause. The main treatment for corns and calluses is to find shoes that fit properly and make sure that you are not overpronating. Arch support insoles are the best way to limit pronation.
High heels put added pressure on the toes and ball of the foot. Reduce the amount of time you spend in high heels. Try to keep your heels two inches or lower.
Corns and Calluses - Treatment
A pumice stone can keep corns and calluses from getting out of control. The gentle abrasive action of the stone will remove dead skin and keep your feet smoother and softer. If the corn or callus is large, a podiatrist can carefully shave away the dead, thickened skin with an abrasive wheel or a small surgical blade. Because infection can occur, don’t have corns and calluses removed during your next pedicure at the nail salon. Make sure a licensed professional is correctly removing the dead tissue.
The Best Insoles for Corns and Calluses
To limit pronation and insure your foot is not slipping and causing unnecessary friction, consider arch support insoles for your shoes. Tread Labs Stride insoles will prevent over-pronation and the resulting friction that creates corns and calluses. Insoles also help prevent hammer toes, a secondary cause of corns and calluses.