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Synonyms and Keywords:Corns and Calluses, Tyloma,Heloma, Clavus, Sore Toe, Knot
A callus (tyloma) is an area of skin that thickens after exposure to repetitive forces in order to protect the skin. A callus may not be painful. When it becomes painful, treatment is required.
When a callus develops a mass of dead cells in its center, it becomes a corn (heloma). Corns generally occur on the toes and balls of the feet. Calluses occur on the feet, hands, and any other part of the skin where friction is present.
- Factors outside the body that can cause calluses and corns from friction and stress
- Ill-fitting shoes or socks
- Bunching of socks or socks with seams by the toes
- Manual labor
- Not wearing shoes
- Activities that increase stress applied to the skin of the hands and feet, such as athletic events
- Factors within the body that may lead to the formation of corns and calluses
- Bony prominences
- Enlarged bursa or faulty foot function and structure
- Calluses :-
- Thickening of skin without distinct borders
- Most commonly on feet and hands over bony spots
- Vary in color from white to gray-yellow, brown, or red
- May be painless or tender
- May throb or burn
- Corns :-
- Texture varies from dry, waxy, transparent to a horny mass
- Distinct borders
- Most common on feet
- May be hard or soft
- Usually painful
When Medical Care is Needed:
If home remedies fail to eliminate the corns and calluses and they continue to be painful or bothersome, consult your doctor. Anyone with diabetes or poor circulation should seek medical attention earlier because of a higher risk for infection.
Normally, corns and calluses do not require emergency attention. These conditions, however, would need a visit to the hospitalâ€™s Emergency Department or doctor’s office:
- Spreading redness around the sore
- Puslike drainage from or around the sore
- Increasing pain and swelling
- Change in color of fingers or toes
- Signs of gangrene (tissue decay)
Exams and Tests:
Diagnosis is almost always made by looking at the corn or callus. A biopsy with microscopic evaluation can be done. The doctor also may take x-rays of your feet or hands to look at underlying bony structures that may be the cause of the corns and calluses.
Self-Care at Home:-
- Place protective covering or bandages over the sore to decrease friction on the skin until the sore heals.
- Apply moisturizing agents such as lotions to dry calluses and corns.
- Rub sandpaper disks or pumice stone over hard thickened regions.
- Avoid stress to hands or feet by using gloves or changing shoes or socks.
- Soak feet or hands in warm soapy water to soften corns and calluses.
Modern Medical Treatment:
- Antibiotics for any infected corn or callus
- Removal by surgical means or with keratolytic agents (medicines that break up hardened areas of skin)
- Surgically removing areas of protruding bone where corns and calluses form
- Shaving or cutting off the hardened area on the skin
A common method, often done by a podiatrist, is to shave the calluses down, and perhaps pad them.
For calluses on the feet an inexpensive home remedy is to dissolve a foot soap powder composed of borax, iodine and bran in warm water and soak the feet in the solution for 15 to 20 minutes. This softens the calluses so that layers of dead skin can be rubbed away with a cloth towel. Repeated soaking over a period of several days can often allow removal of even the core with nothing more than the friction of the cloth towel. If this fails, use of a pumice stone can also remove the skin.
Most corns and calluses located under the foot are caused by the pressure of the foot bones against the skin, preventing it from moving with the shoe or the ground. While well-fitting shoes will help some of these problems, occasionally some other degree of intervention is required to completely rid the foot of the problem. The most basic treatment is to put a friction-reducing insole or material into the shoe, or against the foot. In some cases, this will reduce the painfulness without actually making the callus go away.
In many situations, a change in the function of the foot by use of an orthotic device is required. This reduces friction and pressure, allowing the skin to rest and to stop forming protective skin coverings.
Salicylic acid (0.5%-40%) can be used for two reasons, “(1) it decreases keratinocyte adhesion, and it increases water binding which leads to hydration of the keratin.”
Using a knife to cut it away is dangerous because it can result in bleeding of the foot and infection.
At other times, surgical correction of the pressure is needed.
Follow-up is needed for ongoing corns and calluses that don’t go away with treatment as well as for signs of infection or severe pain.
- Wear gloves to protect hands.
- Make sure shoes and socks fit properly and do not rub.
- Wear felt pads over bony points where there is increased friction to the skin.
- Surgically correct bony abnormalities.
- Keep hands and feet moisturized.
Generally speaking, corns are a disease of civilization. If we didn’t wear shoes, we wouldn’t have them. Potential preventive measures therefore include:
Moving to Tahiti to stroll on the sand in your bare tootsies! This is a pleasant approach, as long as you never have to go back home and walk in shoes again.
For the incurably civilized, wearing comfortable shoes is useful. The idea is to avoid having footgear press on the outside of the 5th toe, or pressing the 4th and 5th toes together.
Another approach is to pad the potentially affected area. You can buy many sorts of padding at the drugstore:
Cushions to put between the toes;
Foam or moleskin pads to put over the places where corns form;
Foam pads with holes in the center (like doughnuts or bagels), which redistribute pressure around the corn instead of right over it; and
Cushioned insoles to pad your feet and alleviate mechanical pressure.
Once the corns and calluses are eliminated, a complete cure is possible if the factors causing them have been eliminated.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.