A Foot corn and Foot calluses are usually the foot’s natural defense mechanism against any type of damage.
Both are caused by the friction that is applied on your feet. This friction makes the skin develop a hard outer covering which is designed to protect the more sensitive layers of your foot. Although they have the same cause, these two foot conditions are quite different.
Foot corns derive their name from corn kernels, as they generally are not any bigger than them. They are circular areas of thick skin that occur on the sides or tips of your toes and may also take up the shape of a tiny cone. They are typically soft on the outside and harden as you approach the center.
Foot calluses, also known as callosities, are thick, hardened layers of dead skin cells that form on the soles and balls of your feet. They occupy much larger areas than a foot corn, and the skin is not as sensitive to touch as the areas surrounding it.
Are You A Victim of Any of These Causes of Foot Corns and Calluses on Foot?
- Corns and calluses on your feet usually develop when you have a tendency of wearing shoes that don’t fit you properly, whether they are too small or too big. Poorly fitting shoes cause your feet to keep rubbing against the shoes thus leading to formation of corns and/or calluses.
- High heeled shoes are also another common cause of foot corns and callus on foot. These types of shoes usually cause a lot of pressure on the soles of your feet and tops of your toes.
- Physical activities like running and long distance walking could also cause one to develop foot calluses as they apply a lot of friction and pressure on the feet. Walking barefoot can also cause one to develop calluses.
- Foot corns and calluses could also be a symptom of an underlying foot condition, like bunions, where the big toe points towards the direction of other toes on the same foot. This will make the toes rub together when walking and thus cause corns.
- Obesity could also cause one to develop calluses as most of one’s body weight is usually taken up by balls of their feet, so the more the weight, the more the pressure that is applied.
- Foot deformities like flat feet and bony feet can also cause one to get a foot corn and calluses as they could cause pressure and friction to be applied irregularly on one’s feet.
- People who have diabetes are also prone to developing these two foot conditions as the blood flowing to their feet is not at its optimum, and this could cause irregular pressure on the feet.
Types Of Foot Calluses
Foot calluses are generally divided into two types.
- Dorsum callus: This usually appears on the joints and tips of the toes and should not be confused with a foot corn. They are areas of dry, thick skin with a yellowish waxy appearance. They can be caused by wearing shoes that fit tightly as these tend to cause a lot of friction on the toes, or something as simple as tucking your foot under your leg when sitting.
- Plantar callus:
The second type is known as the plantar callus and usually develops at the sole of your foot. It’s characterized by a white center. Wearing shoes that are too big is one cause of plantar calluses as most of the friction is experienced at the bottom of the feet. Some foot abnormalities like flat feet could also make one prone to developing the plantar callus as it causes a lot of irregular pressure to be applied on the balls of one’s feet.
It’s important to note that plantar calluses are usually more uncomfortable than dorsum calluses, and they have a tendency to recur.
Types Of Foot Corns
Corns can be classified into two general types: hard corns and soft corns.
- Hard Foot corn: A hard foot corn is commonly found at the top surface of your feet and is usually very compact and have a thick center. They commonly form at the tips of your toes, on the outer side of the little toe and sometimes at the bottom of your feet. This is the most common type of foot corns and is caused by a lot of pressure on the toes and also the habit of curling toes.
- Soft Foot corn: This type is much more painful. They are characterized by a small pit at their center. They can occur between the toes, but most commonly appear between the fourth and the fifth toes. Soft corns can be confused for warts, but warts bleed when lacerated, and soft corns tend to remove a clear liquid or pus if they are infected. These corns are usually caused by friction in between the toes, especially when one has a foot deformity like hammertoe. Excess moisture on your feet can also cause the formation of soft corns. This moisture can be due to wearing non-absorbent socks or stockings.
How To Prevent Foot Calluses
- The main preventive measure against foot calluses is basically taking good care of your feet, and the first thing you can do is make sure that you wear shoes that fit you well. When you go out shoe shopping, it’s better to schedule this activity for the afternoon. This is mainly because your feet have a tendency to swell as the day progresses, and afternoons can be looked at as ‘optimum foot swelling time’. Shoes that can fit you at this time are the correct size. Make sure that the shoes you choose also give your toes enough room to move around.
- You should also make it a point to visit a podiantrist in order to confirm whether or not you may have a foot deformity that you knew nothing about. Treating the cause is one of the best ways to prevent the symptoms.
- Athletes should also make it a point to wear shoes that not only fit them well, but are also specially designated for physical activities. It’s important to put function over aesthetics when buying running shoes, as they are designed with comfortable paddings that prevent friction from occurring between your feet and the shoes. Moreover, make sure that you wear cotton socks when engaging in physical activity in order to put a layer between your foot and the shoe which will protect it from friction.
- If you have the habit of walking barefoot, you should stop if you don’t want to develop any calluses. Feet that are constantly exposed to hard surfaces will automatically develop that hard layer of dead skin cells in order to protect the inner layers from any type of damage.
- Wearing high heels may be good for you aesthetically, but it does no good to your feet. Women should make it a point to wear flat shoes ever so often in order to avoid developing calluses from all the pressure that high heels apply to the feet. Choose heels that are not too high- basically anything less than four inches- and that don’t have such pointy bases. Also, if you’re going to be on your feet most of the day, it’s always advisable to have a pair of comfortable flats in your bag or car.
- Callus cushions are another preventive measure one can take to avoid calluses. They are usually worn inside the shoes and their function is to evenly distribute the pressure on your feet and also reduce friction.
- You should also always make it a point to wash your feet using a pumice stone everyday in order to prevent any dry and dead skin from piling up on the soles of your feet. Also, thoroughly dry your feet after washing them and apply foot lotion in order to prevent the skin from drying up and hardening.
Natural Corn Removal / Ways To Naturally Remove Calluses
- The first natural remedy for foot calluses is the use of Epsom salts. Soak your feet in warm water that has Epsom salts dissolved in it for about ten minutes and rub the area gently with a pumice stone. After that, rinse your feet in clean water in order to clean out the dead cells then dry your feet thoroughly and apply moisturizing foot lotion.
- Apple cider vinegar is another natural treatment for calluses, as the acidic properties soften the hard skin on your callus. Soak a wad of cotton in apple cider vinegar and tape it on to the affected area. Leave it on all night then remove it in the morning and use a pumice stone to gently scrub off any dead skin and moisturize the area with olive oil.
- Baking soda crystals have excellent exfoliating properties and can also treat calluses. You can choose to either soak your feet in a tub filled with warm water and some baking soda or massage the callus with a baking soda paste then rinse and scrub gently with a pumice stone.
- A paste made of bread and vinegar is also very effective and softens any callused areas on your feet. The vinegar also reduces the risk of infection. First, soak your feet in warm water and rub with a pumice stone, then rinse and dry. Soak half a slice of bread in some white vinegar and tape it over the callus and leave it on overnight. The next morning, remove the bandage and apply foot lotion on your feet.
- Lemons can also treat foot calluses due to their acidic properties and they relieve any discomfort that may be caused by the calluses. You can tape a lemon peel over the callus overnight and replace it with a new one in the morning. A few days of repeating this process is going to leave your feet callus free. Alternatively, soak a wad of cotton in freshly squeezed lemon juice and tape it on the affected area. You can then replace it with a freshly soaked wad in the morning.
- A paste of aloe vera gel and turmeric bandaged over the affected area also does wonders for your callused feet. After removing the bandage the next morning, soak your feet in warm water for ten minutes, dry thoroughly and moisturize with mustard oil.
- Soaking your feet in chamomile tea for thirty minutes is also another proven natural treatment for calluses. Wash your feet in clean, soapy water afterwards in order to remove any stains.
Alternative Foot Callus and Foot Corn Removal Techniques
- If you’re not really a fan of natural remedies, or maybe you’ve tried them and none have worked, you should schedule a visit with the podiantrist. People with diabetes are also advised to go to the doctor rather than try treating calluses themselves. What happens during this visit is that a scalpel is used to remove any dead skin cells on the soles of your feet. If your calluses are a symptom of having a foot deformity, the doctor may suggest surgery in order to rectify the abnormality. However, this is usually a last resort.
- Foot care products like callus creams are designed to heal any thick, hardened skin that may have formed on your feet. Paddings that alleviate pressure are also available on the market.
- Electric callus removers usually remove calluses better than pumice stones, and are another option of remedying the condition. These should however be handled very carefully as they have sharp blades and grinding surfaces that can damage your skin. CLICK HERE to read DesignsAuthority.com review of the best foot callus remover
- Callus peels are also another effective way of removing foot calluses. These are commonly used during spa treatments- a therapist applies a special skin patch on the affected area and gently peels off the callus using a plastic scraper. This process is quite relaxing and takes only twenty minutes.
- Callus shavers can also be used to remove calluses and are commonly used when one goes for a pedicure. These are metallic tools with a razor attached to them, and they basically shave off any dead skin on the soles of the feet, leaving you callus free.
When dealing with calluses, it’s important to never attempt cutting out the calluses yourself. This could leave the skin more damaged than it previously was, and any cuts could lead to some serious foot infections. Also, when scrubbing your feet using a pumice stone, don’t scrub too hard thinking that it will remove the calluses quicker. Gentle motions on a consistent basis will be more effective in ridding you of calluses or that foot corn.
5 More Resources to help you Learn more about foot Calluses and foot corn removal, symptoms and treatment
- Webmd.com: Corns and calluses: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
- Patient.info : Corns and Calluses. Corn treatment on toes and feet | Patient.
- NHS (UK) website: Corns and calluses.
- Medicinenet.com: Foot Corns.
- Webmd.com: Slideshow: Pictures of Common Foot Problems.