Calluses and Corns: Causes, Investigations, Treatment, Home Remedies
When there is any friction or pressure against the skin, it protects itself by producing a layer of thick and hard skin; which are known as Calluses and Corns. They are commonly found on toes, feet, fingers and hands and can be quite unsightly to look at. Treatment for this is not usually required, as they tend to disappear if the cause for them, i.e. the friction/pressure is removed or no longer present. If the Calluses and Corns are causing any pain or discomfort, then you should seek treatment.
Individuals with medical conditions, such as diabetes which leads to poor blood circulation to the feet, are at an increased risk for complications from Calluses and Corns. So, it is imperative to seek medical attention if you are suffering from any medical condition and develop Calluses and Corns.
Causes of Calluses and Corns
Friction and pressure due to repetitive or prolonged actions results in development of Calluses and Corns. The following conditions can give rise to them:
- Wearing ill-fitting or tight fitting shoes increases the pressure on the feet and results in Calluses and Corns. Wearing high heels causes compression of the foot. Wearing loose footwear causes your foot to repeatedly slide and rub against the stitch/seam of the shoe. All these conditions lead to Calluses and Corns.
- Wearing sandals and shoes without the socks increases the friction on the feet. Wearing ill fitting socks also increases the friction causing Calluses and Corns.
- Repeatedly playing hand instruments, such as guitar, causes prolonged pressure on the hands. Using hand tools for a long time or writing continuously, all these things increase the pressure and friction on the hands and leads to development of Calluses and Corns.
Risk Factors of Calluses and Corns Include: Having other conditions such as bunions, bone spur, hammertoe, and not wearing protective gear, such as gloves, when using your hands increase your risk for developing Calluses and Corns.
Investigations for Calluses and Corns
- A physical exam is done to exclude other causes for hardened or thickened skin, like cysts and warts.
- X-ray is taken to look for any physical abnormality as a cause for the corns or calluses.
Treatment for Calluses and Corns
The aim of treatment is to remove the cause, i.e. avoid any repetitive pressure or friction which is causing the corn or callus to develop. This can be achieved by wearing using protective pads, proper fitting footwear/shoes etc.
Despite taking precautions, if the problem persists and is causing pain, then medical treatment is required which includes:
- The doctor may excise or trim the excess hard skin of the corn or callus using a scalpel. Never, ever do this at home, as it can cause infection.
- The doctor could also use a medication, which will help remove callus, such as a patch which has 40 % salicylic acid, is placed over the problem area. Your doctor will advise you on how and when to replace this patch. The dead skin needs to be sloughed away using a pumice stone or emery board or a nail file before re-applying a new patch. Salicylic acid gel can also be used for applying on larger areas.
- Antibiotic ointment is also given to reduce the risk of infection.
- If any foot deformity is causing the corns or calluses, then custom-made orthotics or shoe inserts are to be used for prevention and treatment of corns or calluses.
- Surgery is done in rare cases if there is any bone alignment, which is causing friction resulting in Calluses and Corns.
Home Remedies For Calluses and Corns
NOTE: Never ever try to treat Calluses and Corns on your own if you are suffering from diabetes or other medical conditions. Always consult your doctor in such cases.
Otherwise The Following Home Remedies Can Be Done For Treating Calluses and Corns:
- Always wear comfortable and proper fitting shoes and socks.
- Always keep your corn and callus prone regions moisturized to keep the skin in that area soft.
- Application of over-the-counter pads over the affected area is beneficial. However, you need to be careful when using them as using these OTC medicated corn pads contain salicylic acid, which can cause irritation of the healthy skin and result in infection.
- Soak the region affected by Calluses and Corns in warm and soapy water to soften them. This makes it easy in removing the hardened skin.
- During or after a bath, rub the corn or callus with a nail file, pumice stone, emery board or a washcloth. This will remove a layer of the thickened skin. Never use sharp objects for this purpose.