Calluses are an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over time in an area of the foot. It is formed as part of the body's defense mechanism to protect the foot against excessive pressure and friction that if too thick can become problematic. Calluses are normally found on the ball-of-the-foot, heels, and/or the side of the big toe and can also be found in conjunction with corns. Callus can also form on different areas of the foot and may require the help of a podiatrist to figure out why they are occurring.
Some calluses are extremely deep and can even cause the skin beneath it to become quite fibrous. This particular type of callus can be especially painful when put under pressure and usually occurs on the ball of the foot. With these sorts off callus it is important to get some help and work with your podiatrist before it gets worse.
Calluses usually develops due to excessive pressure or friction on a specific area of the foot just as a corn does. Some common causes of this increased friction or pressure include high-heels, shoes that are too small, obesity, abnormalities in the gait cycle (the way you walk), flat feet, high arched feet, unusual shaped feet, and the loss of the ever so wonderful fat pad cushioning on the bottom of the foot.
Treatment and Prevention
Its not uncommon for people to dig around at callus with a razor blade, however its pretty dangerous and most of the time doesn't address the cause of the callus. Its probably worth noting that diabetics and other people with compromised feet should never try this type of treatment as its too risky and they could put themselves at risk of loosing a limb.
What are Corns?
Corns, just like calluses, are an area of thickened skin that occur in areas of pressure or friction. They are actually caused by a normal and natural way for the body to protect itself by increasing the amount of skin in the area so that you don't rub a hole in it. However, when too much skin forms and the increased layers of dead skin cells on the foot form a thick, hardened cone-shaped core it can cause a problem and we call it a corn. This hard area of skin can feel as hard as a rock and can put extra pressure on the skin below. Such high pressure in such a small area can inflame the tissue beneath the corn, and press on nerves leading to pain, discomfort and even bleading. Corns normally occur in areas of high pressure such as on the joints of toes, between toes, or on the ball of the foot. The problems with corns normally occurs when the pressure continues, such as with daily use of poor fitting shoe wear, and the skin gets thicker and the tissue below it becomes more and more compromised till it becomes extremely painful.
Corns generally occur over joints or bony prominence which are put under friction or pressure. Some common causes of typical hard corns include pointy toed shoes, high heels, tight fitting shoes or socks, shoes that cause the foot to slide forwards, toes rubbing on the tops of shoes or lack of fatty padding on the bottom of the foot. Soft corns are generally found between the toes and are often the result of two bones hitting together between the toes in a moist area causing softness. In some cases, soft corns can simply be due to the fact there is too much loose skin sagging between the toes.
Treatment and Prevention
Most Corns are simple to prevent because most corns are caused by shoe wear! Avoid the types of shoes that cause them and you should be fine. Make sure the shoe is secure without putting pressure on your toes and avoid shoes and socks that are way too loose or too tight.
Regular maintenance with an electric Foot File, like this Zoe+Ruth Callus Remover Foot File which is available on Amazon, will ensure that your feet remain healthy and void of dry, hard skin. If problems persist, always seek advice from your local podiatrist or doctor.