Calluses and corns — these conditions are often grouped together because they result from friction on your skin. And your feet are no strangers to friction. In fact, almost everyone has calluses somewhere on the undersides of their feet. Fortunately, the more painful cousins to calluses — corns — are less prevalent but still common enough.
If you want to keep pesky and uncomfortable corns and calluses from creating problems in your feet, our team of foot health experts at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle wishes to share a few tips.
Differentiating between corns and calluses
Before we get into prevention tips for corns and calluses, let’s quickly review what we’re up against. As we mentioned, corns and calluses form because of friction and pressure, and they’re your body’s way of protecting itself.
Calluses are common and typically form on the bottoms of your feet — under your toes, on the balls of your feet, and around your heels. These rough patches of skin usually aren’t painful. Still, they can be, especially if fissures (cracks) form in the hard tissue or blisters become trapped underneath.
Corns are typically smaller and often feature a hard center surrounded by softer tissue. Corns are often uncomfortable or painful due to where they usually occur — on the tops of your toes or the outside of your pinkie toe.
Preventing corns and calluses
Since corns and calluses form due to extra friction or pressure on specific areas of your feet, it makes sense to start there in your efforts to avoid these rough patches of skin. Here are some suggestions:
- Wear shoes that fit snugly — not too tight and not too loose
- Wear socks with your shoes to add a layer of protection
- Avoid going barefoot
- Use corn pads if there’s pressure on a certain area
- Use custom orthotics
Aside from your footwear, there are other ways to prevent or avoid calluses and corns. For example, many people use files or dedicated corn and callus removers on their feet. These instruments, which you can find in any foot care aisle at your pharmacy, clear away dead and tough skin easily.
Once your feet are free and clear of corns and calluses, you can prevent them from returning by continuing to file your feet with pumice stone and using a quality moisturizer on your feet overnight to soften the skin. Some people use petroleum jelly on their feet — they apply a generous amount and cover it with socks overnight. In the morning, the skin will be soft and smooth.
Please note that if you’re among the more than 37 million people in the United States with diabetes, we recommend against this self-care. If you have corns or calluses giving you problems, please see us for treatment.
If you’re having trouble with corns or calluses, don’t hesitate to contact one of our 13 offices in Tennessee or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment.