Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
Corns and calluses are very common foot ailments. They are thick waxy areas of skin which form on the ball of the foot or the toes where there is pressure from footwear.
A callous is a flattened, hard area of skin usually found on the ball of the foot. A corn is a more circular or conical hard area of skin found on the outside of the little toe or on the tops of the toes. Corns can even be found between the toes. When found in this area they are usually soft and moist. These are called soft corns. Corns can be very painful and it makes sense to try and prevent them. They are caused by footwear or ill fitting socks causing friction or pressure on the feet.
They may take a while to develop but if you insist on wearing shoes that are too small and tight or too big for you the inevitable consequence will be corns. The medical name for corns is hyperkeratosis which simply means thickening of the skin. The skin thickens as a response to friction or pressure.
Corns and calluses can be prevented by wearing well fitting comfortable shoes. When buying footwear be sure to try them on with the socks you intend wearing with them and walk around in them. Make sure there is plenty of toe room and do not be tempted to squeeze your toes in for the sake of style.
If your toes are inclined to overlap or are too close together the resulting friction may cause corns. To alleviate this condition wear toe separators which can be purchased in many different designs in your health care shop to cater for every requirement.
If you are unlucky enough to get a corn there are some helpful actions which you can take. Soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salts daily.. This will soften the corn and make it less painful. When the skin is soft it will be possible to peel away some of the dead skin. Be careful not to break the healthy skin as infection can easily set in.
There are many proprietary products to be had in your health care shop to remove corns and calluses. They are mostly based on salicylic acid which dissolves the thick layer of dead skin which makes up the corn or callus. They must be used carefully in accordance with directions. If you suffer from diabetes or have frail skin or circulation problems do not use any product containing salicylic acid. You may cause ulceration of the skin. If the corn shows any sign of infection seek medical advice immediately. You may need an antibiotic.
A pumice stone may be used to file away the thick dead skin of the corn. Care must be taken when using the stone so that you do not overdo it and inadvertently break the skin or cause bleeding. As part of your daily skin care routine moisturise your feet with a good quality lanolin enriched moisturising cream.
If your corn or callus does not respond to the treatments suggested above you should consider seeking professional advice. A chiropodist or podiatrist will advice and treat your corns or calluses. You may need to make regular visits to keep your feet corn and callus free.