Corns and calluses are more than an aesthetic problem that transform smooth, comfortable skin into rough or raised patches. Untreated and allowed to develop, both corns and calluses may cause intense pain, change your gait, or make it difficult to walk. Eventually, corns and calluses may even lead to infections or skin ulcers.
Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin on your feet that form in response to friction or pressure. However, the two conditions are quite different.
Usually, a callus is larger than a corn, with a less-defined edge. A callus may appear pale or yellowish in color. Calluses usually develop on the soles of your feet.
Corns are a type of callus. However, corns are typically small and round and have a defined center, which may be harder than the surrounding tissue. You usually find corns on smooth, hairless areas, such as the tops or sides of your toes.
At FootCare Specialists, Inc. — with locations in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California — our expert podiatrist, David J. Kaplan, DPM, specializes in treating issues affecting the soft tissues of your feet, such as corns and calluses. Here, he provides five tips to avoid these common foot problems.
1. Trim your nails correctly
Overly long toenails can force your feet into abnormal positions, increasing the friction that causes corns and calluses to form. Keep your toenails trimmed by cutting them short and straight across. Don’t taper the sides or use a curved nail clipper. Cutting them straight also reduces your chances of developing an ingrown nail.
2. Support your feet with the right shoes
Tight shoes that pinch your toes can jam them together, causing the friction that results in corns and calluses. Pick styles that give your toes plenty of room to move. Next time you put on your favorite pair of shoes, try to wiggle your toes. If you can’t, it means your shoes are too tight in the toe box.
You may also benefit from custom-made orthotics. Orthotics are shoe inserts that support your arches and keep your feet in healthy alignment to reduce the risk of injury. We can fit you for orthotics that slip into everyday shoes as well as sports shoes.
3. Never forget your socks
The humble sock plays an oversized role when it comes to foot health. Thick, breathable socks reduce friction to protect your feet from areas that can easily rub against your shoes, such as the tops of your toes.
Try to wear shoes and socks as much as possible to protect your feet. When you spend a lot of time barefoot, the skin on the bottom of your feet naturally thickens to protect itself, and suddenly you have a callus.
4. Pad yourself
You may notice that certain areas of your feet rub against your shoes. Get ahead of a potential corn or callus by protecting those areas with non-medicated corn pads, lamb’s wool, or bandages. These protective coverings can be worn on the surface or in between your toes, and you can wear them on the bottoms of your feet.
5. Pay attention to other foot problems
Other types of foot problems – such as bunions, hammertoes, and bone spurs – can increase your chances of developing corns and calluses. Such abnormalities can increase friction on your feet, which cause the skin to form a callus or corn for self-protection.
Treat your feet right and alleviate pain from corns, calluses, ingrown toenails or other causes. Call us today at our San Mateo or Half Moon Bay location. You can also request an appointment using our convenient online form.