Corns And Calluses
Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses are protective layers of compacted, dead skin cells. They are normal responses of healthy skin that are caused by repeated friction from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe.
Corns ordinarily form on the toes whereas calluses form on the soles of the feet. The friction and pressure can burn or otherwise be painful and may be relieved by a number of interventions, such as moleskin or padding on the affected areas.
People who have changes in the normal anatomic alignment of their feet are prone to developing corns and calluses. Bunions, hammertoes, bone spurs, and enlarged arthritic joints make your feet more likely to develop corns and calluses. Walking and/or wearing shoes without socks makes you more likely to develop corns and calluses as socks serve to reduce the friction against the skin and they wick moisture away from the skin, making it less likely that corns and calluses will form. Still, if you wear shoes that are too tight and/or too narrow for your foot shape, you are more prone to developing corns and calluses. There are also some indications that individuals who smoke tobacco cigarettes are more prone to corn and callus formation.
Corns and calluses are not always painful. Many can be painful initially when they develop and then, over time and as you get used to them, the pain subsides. Just because a corn or a callus isn’t painful doesn’t mean you should do nothing. Often painless calluses can get very thick and then develop fissures, and crack within the callus. This crack usually goes beyond the upper layer of the skin and exposes the lower layers. Fissures can become infected and cause cellulitis which requires treatment with an oral antibiotic. In patients with poor blood circulation to their feet and in diabetics, these types of infections can rapidly become very serious and it’s a reason why anyone with compromised circulation and/or loss of sensation in their feet (neuropathy) should visually and manually check their feet daily, and should have their feet regularly treated by a podiatrist.
There is a belief that runners “need to have calluses” and nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that a runner repeatedly develops calluses in the same areas is often “the canary in the coal mine”- an indication that there is either something off in the inherent alignment of their feet or the fit of their sneakers. It’s important to get this checked and addressed as catching this kind of issue early on can prevent more serious musculoskeletal running injuries down the road.
It is never recommended that individual cut their own corns or calluses with any instrument, and never apply home remedies, except under a podiatrist’s instructions. Very often there are hydrating creams that contain specific components that help gently exfoliate the calluses and corns, gradually softening the feet over time and making it less like that the corns and calluses will re-form.
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