If you’ve been wearing sandals or flip-flops this summer, you may have noticed that you’ve developed calluses and/or corns on your feet. The constant flapping of flip-flops against your heels have probably caused rough, dry calluses to form. Or if you’ve been wearing strappy sandals, you may have noticed painful corns on your toes where the straps have rubbed against them.
Corns and calluses can be unsightly, so you may be wondering how to get rid of them. In this post, you’ll learn all about corns and calluses, and how you can treat and prevent them.
What Are Corns and Calluses?
Corns and calluses are annoying, thick, hardened layers of skin that form due to friction and pressure against the skin.
Corns are a hard, raised, circular bump surrounded by inflamed skin. The skin may look dry, waxy, or translucent. They tend to develop on the tops and sides of your toes; although they sometimes can form between the toes. Corns can be painful.
Calluses are thick, rough, flat areas of skin that develop on the heels or balls of your feet. The skin may be dry, flaky, or waxy looking. Calluses can vary in size and shape. They are usually not painful unless they develop cracks, which can become sore and infected.
What Causes Corns and Calluses?
- Wear shoes that are too tight or too loose.
- Wear high heels.
- Don’t wear socks with your shoes or the socks don’t fit properly.
- Have an abnormal gait.
- Have foot abnormalities like hammertoe.
Should I See a Doctor if I Develop Corns and Calluses?
If you’re healthy, you only need to see a doctor if your corns and calluses become red, swollen, infected, or cause you any pain or discomfort.
If you have poor circulation from a medical condition like diabetes, you should see your doctor immediately for treatment of corns and calluses to prevent a serious infection from occurring. Do not try any home remedies first.
What Are the Treatments for Corns and Calluses?
If you are healthy and have no underlying medical conditions affecting your circulation, you can try the following home remedies to treat your corns and calluses:
- Application of over-the-counter corn or callus pads – Non-medicated pads will cushion the corn or callus and prevent further pressure and rubbing. Or, medicated pads that contain salicylic acid can be applied to the corn or callus. Once the top layer of skin of the callus or corn turns white, you can use a pumice stone or file to remove these dead skin layers. Be aware that salicylic acid may irritate the healthy skin surrounding the corn or callus, and may lead to infection.
- Foot soaking and skin removal – Soak your feet in soapy water to soften the thickened skin of the corn or callus. Then use a pumice stone to remove some of the toughened skin. Apply moisturizer to your skin to keep it soft. Special foot creams with menthol or eucalyptus are exceptionally helpful.
If you have underlying medical conditions or your corns or calluses are causing you pain, your doctor may prescribe the following treatments:
- Trimming – Your doctor will trim your corn or callus with a scalpel. Do not trim your corns or calluses at home with a knife or scissors as this may lead to an infection.
- Salicylic acid pads – This process is similar to the at-home remedy, but your doctor will monitor the treatment to prevent any complications from occurring.
- Antibiotic medication – Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment that you’ll apply to the treated area to reduce the risk of infection.
- Surgery – In some rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove a corn or to correct the alignment of the bone that is causing the pressure or friction on the skin.
How Can I Prevent Corns and Calluses from Developing?
Corns and calluses can be prevented by reducing pressure points and friction:
- Wear comfortable shoes that fit well – Your toes should have room to wiggle within your shoes. Have your shoes professionally stretched if they rub or pinch your toes or feet.
- Wear properly fitted socks with your shoes.
- Wear protective, non-medicated corn or callus pads over areas that rub against your shoes.
- Wear custom shoe inserts – Customized foot orthotics, like ezWalker® Performance Insoles, relieve the pain and pressure from corns and calluses. These insoles strategically support your medial, lateral, and trans-metatarsal arches and help to reduce pressure on the heels and balls of your feet. The ezWalker’s® biomechanical design enhances your foot’s position by supporting the hind foot in a way that realigns the forefoot for the propulsion phase of the gait cycle. This redistributes pressure as you walk, and therefore, helps to prevent corns and calluses from forming. Each ezWalker® Performance Insole is custom molded to the specifications of each of your feet, providing you with pain relief and comfort. ezWalker® Performance Insoles are ultra thin and ¾ in length, so they fit in a wide variety of shoes, too. With the help of Velcro® fasteners, they can even be worn in sandals and flip-flops.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.
Note: If you follow these guidelines and your pain persists, you may have a more serious condition. See your physician for a more complete diagnosis and treatment.