Corns and calluses on the bottom of the foot 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 remove foot corns and calluses safely and effectively without damaging the healthy skin around them – and it’s normally painless.
Aside from immediately treating your foot 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 Foot Callus And Why Does It Develop?
A foot 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 foot corn is similar to a 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 Foot Corns And Calluses Treated?
Corns and calluses on the bottom of your foot 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.
Do Corn Pads Work?
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 continue to treat many patients that have had undesirable and painful experiences with corn pads.
The Difference Between Corns And Warts
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 difficult to tell the difference between corns and warts on the bottom of your foot. 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 Heel Calluses?
Cracked heels often start as calluses 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.
How do you get rid of corns on your foot?
Foot corns can be treated in one easy appointment with your podiatrist where after assessing the area they will “scoop out” the corn. This will provide instant relief and provide a noticeable difference when walking.
What does a corn on the foot look like?
Foot corns generally appear on the tops and sides of your toes. Hard corns look like a small patch of thickened, dead skin with a packed centre. Alternatively, soft corns have a whiter appearance and are softer than a traditional corn, due to the absorption of extra moisture.
Can you freeze a corn on your foot?
Some doctors may offer to use cryotherapy to freeze corns off your foot, this is not the approach we recommend as they are likely to grow back. At My FootDr we “scoop out” the corn to better ensure we get rid of all damaged tissue.
How do you get a corn on your foot?
Foot corns are primarily caused by extra strain being placed on your feet. This is often from wearing shoes that are too tight or if you are standing or walking for prolonged periods of time. The weight of holding your body combined with excess friction can cause damage that develops as a foot corn.
Are foot corns painful?
Corns usually develop on areas of the foot that do not bear weight, meaning they are not under constant pressure. However, foot corns are often painful when pressed on or pressure is applied.
Can a foot callus hurt?
Foot calluses are not usually painful; however, they can cause tenderness and some dull pain under the skin. If your foot callus is very painful or inflamed it is recommended you make an appointment with your podiatrist to assess and treat the area.
How to reduce foot calluses
Calluses can be professionally reduced in size by a podiatrist who will leave a small and comfortable protective layer intact. It is not recommended to try to remove your own foot corns and calluses as cutting or gouging can result in damaging surrounding healthy tissue or blood vessels which can result in infection or scarring.
How to prevent foot calluses
The best way to prevent foot calluses is to ensure you are washing your feet every day with soap and water and drying them thoroughly afterwards. Another key factor is to refrain from wearing shoes that are overly tight, or high heels as they can increase friction. Using gel pads or foam inserts can also help relieve excess pressure on the skin.