Our feet are often the most neglected part of our body. As a podiatrist, there are many aspects of
the feet that we deal with. One of these being the treatment of corns and callouses.
When we are on our feet, these relatively small amazing structures have to support our entire body
weight and endure multi directional/frictional forces of movement and footwear.
What is a callous?
When pressure or frictional forces become too great, one of the body’s responses to this is to build
up extra, hard layers of dead skin, called a callous. This does serve a purpose as it can prevent a
possible break in the skin such as a blister. If however, this becomes too great it may become
Callous is not always painful but if left unattended, may increase the pressure of the healthy tissue
underneath causing pain. This is especially important if you have diabetes, as it could cause tissue
breakdown leading to an ulcer. Callouses can also split open causing fissures. These are very painful.
What is a Corn?
Corns are similar to callous but are more localised and are often in the shape of a cone. These can be
very painful as it digs into the tissue. Corns often develop on the top of our toes from ill-fitting
footwear but can develop anywhere on the feet that is succumbed to pressure.
Who is prone to getting corns and callouses?
Almost anyone can develop corns and callouses, some are more genetically predisposed to it. The
elderly generally have less or displaced fatty padding under their feet for shock absorption, have less
elasticity within their skin and potentially have increased bony prominences due to arthritis and
wear and tear. Those that do a lot of sport or are in occupations that require them to spend a lot of
hours on their feet are at risk.
How are Corn’s and Callouses Treated?
When you see a podiatrist, we will examine the feet to determine the cause of the pressure and why
the corns and callouses are developing. This may mean a change of footwear, padding, or in more
serious cases, orthotics to offload the high pressure area. We carefully remove the corns and callous
with a scalpel blade. Because these are made up of dead skin cells, there is generally no sensation of
pain. If there is a lot of dry skin, a moisturiser may be recommended. Medicated corn pads that can
be purchased from your local chemist, are not something that I recommend often as these can have
harmful chemicals in them they are not only breaking down the corn, but may also cause damage to
the surrounding healthy tissue.
Untreated, painful corns and callouses may lead to compensations within your gait to avoid pain.
This can put you at risk of developing other issues such as muscular injuries.
If you have any callouses or corns that require treatment, feel free to call Stay Tuned Sports
Medicine today on 9762 9478 and book a podiatry appointment with Josh Osborne.