Painful Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are thick, hardened areas of skin which can be found on feet (or even hands). The cause of the skin changes is actually from excessive pressure on deformed and/or prominent bone. Corns and calluses can be skin tone to gray or yellow in Caucasian; yet can be much darker on more pigmented skin tones. The thickened skin may less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin, but there is sharp/stabbing pain at the area overlying the bone.
Corns and calluses may develop over a long period of time, and might begin as a mere blister. The area of skin that receives a lot of pressure and friction eventually forms a hard, protective layer. There are many causes but the good news is that they are usually preventable and certainly treatable. The key to understanding the pain is the bone and joint pathology underlying the skin change.
Plantar warts may look very similar, but may have a higher degree of symptoms associated (pain) due to the underlying virus that invades the tissue.
Causes of Painful Skin Conditions
Most people develop corns, calluses and plantar warts as a result of one or more of the following reasons:
- High foot arches
- Poorly fitting shoes
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Foot or toe deformities such as hammertoes
- Overweight/Gait abnormalities
- High heeled shoes that over pressure the forefoot
- Neuropathy (nerve problems of numbness painful or non-painful)
- Excessive standing or walking on a regular basis in improper shoe gear
Some of these causes can be prevented and or reduced with lifestyle changes. Others may require medical treatment. A qualified physician specializing in the care of the lower extremity from our Foot and Ankle Center will be able to assess your condition, determine the cause, and recommend treatment options and alternatives.
Prevention may include reducing or eliminating the pressure at specific points of the feet and toes. This can be done by accommodation or with intervention. Upon evaluation our doctor’s will determine if the cause is an underlying foot or toe deformity, or if it’s something can be addressed with an insert or simply a change in shoes. With a plantar wart and viral invaded skin lesion, a topical treatment may be recommended along with reducing the top layer of hardened skin.
Although at-home treatments can include using a pumice stone to reduce the corn or callus, wearing pads to prevent friction, and placing cushions between the toes; these are not long term solutions but can help reduce irritation for many.
The best course of action is to understand the cause and to prepare a treatment plan to solve the underlying problem, and return to life without foot pain.
If you would like to make an appointment to treat or learn more about preventing and resolving foot pain, please contact us at 904-825-0540.
BETH PEARCE, DPM
Board Certified by the American Board of Podiatric Orthopaedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine.