The most common of the foot conditions : Corns and Callous
The one condition that Podiatrists definitely see the most is corns and callous. Here I discuss the reasons that they are so common and the difference between them.
Corns and Callous are the same condition- hyperkeratosis- a hard overgrowth of the top layer of the skin, that occurs in sites of excessive amounts of pressure. The pressure can be in the form of direct pushing , friction or impact pressures. In very general terms Podiatrists see more corns in the colder months and more callouses in the warmer months. This is directly attributable to the shoes or in some cases, the lack of, that we wear.
Direct pressure in small areas will cause corns and frictional or impact pressures over wide areas cause callous. The body builds up the corns and callous as protection against the pressure. Unfortunately it will continue to grow until the hard skin causes problems itself. In the worst case scenario the pressure becomes so great that it damages the surrounding tissues causing bruising and wounds; or the callous becomes so inflexible the skin cracks. This is why corns and callouses on the feet need to be treated .
Here’s a quick look at the types of corns and callous
- Hard corns- these are found on areas which contact shoes or the ground. They are dry and hard , and generally found on the toes or the ball of the foot.
- Soft corns– develop in between the toes, and as the name suggests, soft and tend to be white. They are often confused with tinea.
- Seed corns– these are little corns that develop mainly under the foot either because of pressure or they are idiopathic ( no cause identified). We generally find these develop in people with very dry skin.
- Forefoot callous– this builds up on the ball of the foot, sometimes there are also corns located in the callous
- Heel callous– found around the board of the heel, and is very prone to splitting when it is too thick or dry.
When you attend the clinic our podiatrist will treat the corns / callous by gently debriding the hard skin and discuss ways to manage it in the future. This will include footwear advice , self care, cushioning, padding and insoles.
Important note: If you are diabetic or have other conditions that impact on your circulation or sensation, you should never initiate self treatment without discussing it with your podiatrist first.