Corns and calluses are painful problems of the foot, but they are really just part of a natural process that has gone wrong. When too much pressure is applied to an area of skin over time, then the skin naturally thickens up to protect itself. For example, if you chop a lot of firewood, you tend to develop calluses on your hand. If the feet or toes get a lot of pressure on an area, the skin will naturally thicken up to protect itself. However, in the foot the pressure continues and so the skin continues to thicken. In the case of chopping firewood, the thicker skin goes away when you stop. In the foot, the skin can get so thick it becomes painful. If the pressure is over a larger more diffuse area then the thick skin is a callus. If the pressure is on a smaller focused area, then that is a corn. So, you can see how corns and calluses are part of a natural process that goes too far.
The Cause of Corns and Callus
The cause of a corn or callus is nothing more than that area getting too much pressure on it. That pressure could be higher on the bottom of the foot from abnormal biomechanics; or pressure on the toe from the shoe in case of a hammer toe; or it could be pressure between the toes. Anything that causes too much pressure will result in the skin becoming thicker. If that pressure continues over a longer period of time, then the callus and corn can become painful.
Treatment of Corns and Callus
A skilled Podiatrist can easily and painlessly remove a corn and callus by debriding it with a scalpel (as they know what they are doing). Getting rid of corns and callus that way is relatively easy and works well. What is not so easy is stopping them coming back after that has been done. Corns do not have ‘roots’ that they grow back from. What happens after a corn or callus is removed is that the cause of it is still there, which is why they do keep coming back (nothing to do with them having ‘roots’). It is one thing to remove the symptom (the corn) and it is quite a different think to remove the cause (the pressure).
So how do you stop them coming back? To do that the cause of the higher level of pressure needs to be removed. The most drastic way is surgery, for example, to correct a hammer toe or bunion that might be causing the high pressure. Another way, for example, is if the callus is on the bottom of the foot, then foot orthotics may be useful to change the biomechanics and reduce the pressure. A proper assessment is often needed to determine the cause of the higher pressure and advise the options to reduce that pressure. That is how you get rid of corns and callus and stop them coming back.
Related Corns and Callus Products
FootStore.au have a range of products that can be useful for corns and callus. For example the silicone gel tube can be cut to the toe length and be used to protect toes that corns develop on.