Because their shape is typically well defined, they can often be mistaken for warts. As with a wart, a corn is typically hardened and raised with a flaky, dry, or waxy surface. However, corns can be differentiated by their location on the top of the foot and between toes rather than the bottom plantar side of the foot. Warts can also appear in clusters, which corns generally don't, and develop on any part of the body. There are both soft corns and hard corns. Soft corns develop on the moist skin between toes in response to abnormal friction such as walking in tight, pointed-toe shoes.
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They tend to be whitish in color with a rubbery, pliable texture. Hard corns form where a bone comes into direct contact with the inside of a shoe especially shoes in which the toes are abnormally curled.
Corns and Calluses: Treatment, Symptoms, Signs & Causes
They tend to be small and circular and co-exist with calluses. Within both soft and hard corns is a barley-shape core that runs perpendicular to the foot from the top of the corn to the tissues below. Because of its shape and position, the hardened core can sometimes press on nerve endings, causing a sharp, stabbing pain. There are also tiny "seed corns" that commonly develop on the ball of the foot and, despite their diminutive size, are no less painful.
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Calluses are less-defined patches of thickened skin. Typically larger than corns and rarely painful, they are caused by friction or pressure delivered over a long period to time. Even writing with a pencil over the course of years, for example, can lead to the development of a callus on the middle finger of the writing hand.
Calluses are rarely painful and tend to involve larger areas of skin, especially under the heels or on the palm, knees, or balls of the feet. The skin can sometimes be smooth and hard or rough, dry, and patchy.
A callus may be considered a form of protection in that the layers of dead skin cells are resistant to blisters and friction. The only time a callus causes pain is when it cracks and exposes underlying tissue. This is not uncommon with heel calluses in which the thick layers of skin are less able to flex.
What Is It?
Once a crevasse forms, it can make walking difficult; any additional pressure placed on the heel can increase the size and depth of the crack. Most corns and calluses do not require medical treatment and can be treated at home with proper foot care and simple, over-the-counter products. There is also a wide variety of over-the-counter corn removers that typically contain salicylic acid.
While they can be effective in removing a corn, discontinue use if you experience any pain or skin irritation. You should avoid these products if you have diabetic neuropathy or any condition that affects the blood flow to the foot such as peripheral arterial disease. Conditions like these can impede normal healing and lead to the development of sores and ulcers that are hard to treat. If you have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy foot nerve pain , leg edema fluid overload of the feet and ankles , or any chronic circulation problem, do not attempt to self-treat your corns or calluses.
Always see a doctor. If a corn or callus is painful or bleeding, you should have it looked by a podiatrist. Pain or bleeding is an indication that the deeper layers of skin are being affected. Ignoring these symptoms may result in otherwise avoidable complications, such as infection or ulcerations. Treatment may involve debridement the removal of damaged tissue or the paring cutting out of a corn with a scalpel.
It is important to note that corns and calluses will often return even after effective treatment.
Blisters, Calluses, and Corns
If they become problematic, surgery may be explored especially for corns. This should only be considered if all other conservative forms of treatment have failed to provide relief. In such case, surgical enucleation the removal of the hardened core , bunionectomy removal of a bunion , or even foot alignment surgery may be considered. Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. These are areas of thick, tough skin that develop to protect you from the pressure and friction your feet endure. For many people, calluses and corns are simply an inconvenience.
Changing footwear or adding insoles or other padding may relieve the friction, and the thick spot eventually vanishes.
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- Symptoms and Treatment for Corns and Calluses;
While still relatively minor problems, calluses and corns may sometimes develop complications. If your neuropathy is sufficiently advanced, you may be unable to detect foot pain to alert you to a growing problem. Though caused by similar conditions, calluses and corns are not the same. Calluses tend to be larger and form on weight-bearing surfaces, such as the bottoms of toes or on the sole of your foot at the ball or heel. These are rarely painful, and their appearance is usually smooth, but a different, thicker texture than surrounding skin. The skin on both corns and calluses may have a dry or flaking appearance.
The elevated levels of blood glucose present in your body can have serious effects on nerve endings in your feet, most often causing numbness, though some people can develop pain responses. In either case, your body no longer receives an appropriate sensory response due to damage to the local nerves. In normal situations, calluses and corns protect the areas of your feet that work hardest.
Corns and Calluses
However, since natural healing is impaired, the thicker skin of calluses and corns can sometimes hide foot ulcers. When these ulcers get infected, they may advance to the point where your foot is at risk. Because a diabetic is more at risk from infections, home care of calluses and corns is different than what a non-diabetic can do.