Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened layers of skin caused by repeated pressure or friction.
Corns and calluses are caused by pressure or friction on skin. A corn is thickened skin on the top or side of a toe, usually from shoes that do not fit properly. A callus is thickened skin on your hands or the soles of your feet.
The thickening of the skin is a protective reaction. For example, farmers and rowers get callused hands that prevent them from getting painful blisters. People with bunions often develop a callus over the bunion because it rubs against the shoe.
Neither corns nor calluses are serious conditions.
- Skin is thick and hardened.
- Skin may be flaky and dry.
- Hardened, thick skin areas are found on hands, feet, or other areas that may be rubbed or pressed.
Exams and Tests
Your healthcare provider will make the diagnosis after observing the skin. In most cases tests are not necessary.
Usually, preventing friction is the only treatment needed. If a corn is the result of a poor-fitting shoe, changing to shoes that fit properly will usually eliminate the corn within a couple of weeks. Until then, protect the skin with donut-shaped corn pads, available in pharmacies. If desired, use a pumice stone to gently wear down the corn.
Calluses on the hands can be treated by wearing gloves during activities that cause friction, such as gardening and weight lifting.
If an infection or ulcer occurs in an area of a callus or corn, unhealthy tissue may need to be removed by a healthcare provider and treatment with antibiotics may be necessary.
Calluses often reflect undue pressure placed on the skin because of an underlying problem such as bunions and or hammertoes. Proper treatment of any underlying condition should prevent the calluses from returning.
Corns and calluses are rarely serious. If treated properly, they should improve without causing long-term problems.
DIABETICS SHOULD NOT CUT THEIR OWN CORNS OR CALLOUSES NOR SHOULD THEY USE MEDICATED CORN PAD REMOVERS AS THESE CAN CAUSE INFECTIONS AND POTENTIAL FOR AMPUTATIONS.
Complications of corns and calluses are rare. People with diabetes are prone to ulcers and infections and should regularly examine their feet to identify any problems right away. Such foot injuries need medical attention.