What happens when you spend most of your time working on your feet? Typically the soles become thicker and tougher over time. All that rubbing and strain affects the skin. Sometimes this helps protect your feet from blisters. At other times, however, these corns and calluses can actually cause pain instead of helping prevent it.
Growing Thick Skin
Corns and calluses are similar skin problems, but not quite the same. Both develop in response to friction and pressure. They are your body’s attempt to prevent damage. Both are built-up layers of dead skin cells, creating a thickening and hardening of the tissues. They tend to be rough to the touch and may be greyish in color. Corns, however, appear in non-weight bearing areas, like the tops of toes. They tend to be raised and conical in shape. Calluses grow on the soles, where your weight keeps them flat. They are larger than corns and often dry and flaky.
Neither problem may cause much discomfort, especially at first. They can, however, become problematic the more your skin thickens. The buildup can add to the pressure against your feet instead of relieving it. Those extra layers of skin, when pressed on, push back into the soft tissues in your lower limbs. Since they tend to be dry as well, they are also more prone to painful cracks, opening your body to possible infections. Take care of your skin before these thickenings become too painful or create additional problems for your lower limbs.
Softening the Skin
You will need to look into the causes of the thick patches of dry skin. Sometimes they are symptoms of a more serious problem, like hammertoes or bunions. In cases where corns and calluses are caused by underlying bone issues such as bunions, hammertoes or other deformities, Dr. Silvester may recommend surgery to remove bony prominences that cause these painful conditions. This takes care of the underlying issue, not just treating the symptoms. Sometimes they are the result of poorly fitting shoes. Dr. Darren Silvester and our expert staff here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic will evaluate your lower limbs to help diagnose the problem and the specific causes of your corns and calluses. Once a culprit has been identified, you can take steps to treat the irritation and smooth out your skin again.
The rough, thickened patches will need to be ground down so they are no longer pressing into your feet. This is especially important if you have diabetes or any other condition that impairs your immune system, since these lesions can increase your chances of developing an ulcer. Our expert staff will carefully trim the spots with a scalpel. This is something that must be done by an experienced professional and not on your own at home. If done improperly you could damage your skin and create openings for infection. Also, you may need to adjust your shoes or use orthotics to help cushion your lower limbs so that corns or calluses are less likely to form.
When your skin’s attempts to defend underlying tissue from pain end up actually causing pain instead, contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Universal City and Pleasanton, TX. Don’t wait until you can barely wear shoes or develop painful fissures. Call 210.375.3318 or use our online contact page for an appointment or more information.
Never cut corns or calluses with any instrument, and never apply home remedies, except under a podiatrist's instructions.