Corns and calluses can be extremely painful and uncomfortable, leaving you feeling like you’re walking on a pebble, step after step. Our podiatrists are trained and qualified to safely and effectively remove corns and calluses without damaging the healthy skin around them – and it’s normally painless.
Aside from immediately treating your corns and calluses, we also investigate their cause to reduce their likelihood of returning in the future, saving you time, money and pain.
What Is A Callus And Why Does It Develop?
A callus is an area of thickened skin that is often found on the bottom of the foot. Calluses develop as part of a natural process by which your body attempts to protect the skin when it undergoes repeated pressure and friction. By thickening in response, the risk of the friction causing a ‘break’ in the skin – and leaving your body vulnerable to infection – is minimised.
Unfortunately, once callus builds up to a certain thickness, it can become uncomfortable and even painful, placing greater pressure on the tissues, joints and bones beneath. Callus is dead skin with no nerve endings or blood supply, so removing it is typically painless – much like cutting your hair.
What Is A Corn?
A corn is similar to callus in that it is a thickened area of dead skin caused by pressure or friction. The difference is that corns occur at very specific points, often being very small (2mm – 20mm), and move deeper into the skin in a conical shape. This means that they are often more painful when present on a weight-bearing area (an area you walk on that comes in contact with the ground).
When corns develop between the toes, often due to the toes rubbing against one another, they can absorb excess moisture from the feet sweating and become ‘soft corns’. These corns have a whiter appearance and are softer than a traditional corn. As the skin surrounding a soft corn is more vulnerable, extra care must be taken to safely remove them.
How Are Corns And Calluses Treated?
Both can be simply and painlessly removed by your podiatrist in one appointment. Calluses are reduced in size, leaving a small and comfortable protective layer intact. Corns are ‘scooped out’, instantly removing the feeling of walking on a pebble and giving you a noticeable difference when your feet touch the ground.
Corn Pads: The Truth
We strongly advise against using corn pads. Most corn pads contain an acid that is designed to ‘eat away’ at the corn. The problem is that corns are often very small, and corn pads have a predetermined size that may exceed the borders of the corn. Even when sizes are comparable, the acid can spread to the healthy skin surrounding the corn, and ‘eat away’ at this, causing pain, swelling and redness. This is because the acid does not differentiate between the dead skin of the corn, and the healthy surrounding skin.
We see and treat many patients that have had undesirable and painful experiences with corn pads.
Corns And Warts: The Confusion
It is not uncommon for us to see patients who have had corns misdiagnosed as warts and vice versa. In some cases, the appearance of both lesions may be very similar and it may be impossible to tell them apart. This is why we always debride the top layer of the lesion (painless as it is dead skin) to examine the underlying tissue, as once debrided, there are very distinct differences between the two.
Importantly, the treatment is very different for corns and warts, and the result can be very painful when treated incorrectly. We strongly recommend getting a diagnosis by one of our experienced podiatrists before beginning any treatment.
What About Cracked Heels?
Cracked heels often start as callus around the heel, but become so dry and thick that cracks form. While this is not painful for the callus, the cracks can run deeper into the healthy skin beneath, causing bleeding and leaving patients vulnerable to infection. We can help reduce the ‘cracked’ callus. To learn more about cracked heels, click here.