What Are Corns and Calluses and How Does a Foot Doctor Treat Them?

Corns and calluses develop on your feet when there is excessive friction or pressure on the skin. They are hardened layers of skin that form to protect your feet from ongoing irritation. A foot doctor can assess and treat these conditions to relieve and prevent them from recurring. Here is more information about corns and calluses:

What Are Corns and Calluses?

Corns are round and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. They are usually found on the tops and sides of toes, whereas calluses are larger and form on the bottom of the feet or heels. The skin in these areas becomes rigid and thick as a protective response to pressure or friction. A foot doctor will evaluate the corn or callus’s location, size, and appearance to determine the appropriate treatment. Going sockless in shoes or sandals can heighten the risk of developing these issues due to direct skin friction and pressure.

What Are the Different Types of Corns? 

The three main types of corn are hard, soft, and seed. Hard corns typically form on the tops or sides of toes from pressure or friction caused by ill-fitting shoes or toe deformities. They are characterized by a hard, thick center surrounded by inflamed skin. Soft corns usually occur between the toes and have a rubbery texture. They may form from excessive moisture or tight shoes, which can cause friction between toes. Seed corns are tiny and found on the balls of the feet or heels. The pressure and friction in these areas may cause a buildup of hard, dead skin cells.

What Causes Corns and Calluses?

Extended periods of standing, walking, or running may increase pressure on the feet, making them more susceptible to developing corns and calluses. Engaging in physical hobbies, sports, or work that involves pressure on the feet may lead to corns and calluses. Foot deformities like hammertoes, bunions, or congenital issues can change pressure distribution, raising the risk of developing these issues. Improper footwear practices, such as high heels or tight shoes, can also contribute to corn and callus formation.

How Are Corns and Calluses Treated?

Foot and ankle orthotics help reduce pressure and distribute weight evenly across the foot to prevent corn and callus formation. A foot specialist can recommend a variety of treatments for corns and calluses. Most involve removing excess skin buildup using a pumice stone, emery board, or scalpel under sterile conditions. Padding with moleskin or felt helps to prevent friction and future skin problems. A podiatrist may prescribe orthotic inserts, shoe modification, or custom footwear to alleviate pressure on high-risk areas. A foot doctor can prescribe antibiotics for infected corns to reduce inflammation and prevent secondary bacterial infection. If the corn is between the toes, special toe separators can be placed there to relieve pressure.

When Do I Contact a Medical Professional?

See medical attention if you notice any signs of infection, bleeding, or severe pain while treating your corn or callus at home. People with diabetes, circulation problems, or weakened immune systems require special foot care. A foot doctor may provide regular exams and recommend specific treatments to prevent complications. 

Seek Help From an Experienced Foot Doctor

For some people, corns and calluses can become a chronic problem that requires ongoing care. A foot doctor can provide specialized treatment and ongoing management plans to prevent recurrence. They may recommend proper footwear or orthotics to reduce pressure on the affected areas. Regular follow-up appointments are beneficial for people with severe or chronic corns and calluses to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. Contact a podiatrist for professional help if you are experiencing discomfort or difficulty managing your corns and calluses.