What's in this article?
A corns and calluses (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. However, people who suffer from diabetes, poor blood circulation, or loss of sensation (neuropathy) should seek professional treatment even if there is no associated pain.
When a callus develops a mass of dead cells in its center (keratinocytes), it becomes a corn (heloma). Corns generally occur on the toes and balls of the feet. Corns and calluses occur on the feet, hands, any other part of the skin where friction is present.
Corns and calluses facts
♦ Corns and calluses are annoying, sometimes painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas of pressure.
♦ Corns and calluses can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the hands and feet.
♦ Corns and calluses can be treated with many types of medicated products to chemically pare down the thickened, dead skin.
♦ People with fragile skin or poor circulation in the feet (including many people with diabetes or peripheral arterial disease) should consult their health-care professional as soon as corns or calluses develop.
Corns and calluses are caused by pressure or friction on skin. A corn is thickened skin on the top or side of a toe. Most of the time it is caused by bad fitting shoes. A callus is thickened skin on your hands or the soles of your feet.
The thickening of the skin is a protective reaction. For example, farmers and rowers get calluses on their hands that prevent blisters from forming. People with bunions often develop a callus over the bunion because it rubs against the shoe.
Corns and calluses are not serious problems.
Symptoms of Corns and calluses
You may have a corn or callus if you notice:
♦ A thick, rough area of skin
♦ A hardened, raised bump
♦ Tenderness or pain under your skin
♦ Flaky, dry or waxy skin
Corns and calluses are not the same thing.
♦ Corns are smaller than calluses and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns tend to develop on parts of your feet that don’t bear weight, such as the tops – sides of your toes and even between your toes. They can also be found in weight-bearing areas. Corns can be painful when pressed.
♦ Calluses are rarely painful. They usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knees. Calluses vary in size or shape are often larger than corns.
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider will make the diagnosis after looking at your skin. In most cases, tests are not needed.
Corns and calluses are rarely serious. They should improve with proper treatment and not cause long-term problems.
Complications of corns and calluses are rare. People with diabetes are prone to ulcers and infections and should regularly examine their feet to identify any problems right away. Such foot injuries need medical attention.
Treatment for Corns and calluses
Preventing friction is often the only treatment needed.
To treat corns:
♦ If poor fitting shoes are causing the corn, changing to shoes that fit better will get rid of the problem most of the time. Protect the corn with a doughnut-shaped corn pad while it is healing. You can buy these at most drug stores.
To treat calluses:
♦ Calluses often occur due to excess pressure placed on the skin because of another problem such as bunions or hammertoes. Proper treatment of any underlying condition should prevent the calluses from returning. Wear gloves to protect your hands during activities that cause friction (such as gardening or weight lifting) can help prevent calluses.
If an infection or ulcer occurs in an area of a callus or corn, the tissue may need to be removed by a health care provider. You may need to take antibiotics.