pressure of calluses
feet play an important role in getting us around. When
we walk or stand, our feet carry the burden of our body
weight, as well as bearing the various pressures of
movement and the constraints of footwear. Sometimes,
pressure placed on the foot becomes out of balance and
extra friction falls on particular areas of the foot.
When this happens, the body may respond to the pressure
by producing thickenings in the surface layer of the
skin. These hard patches of skin are called calluses and
are part of the body’s defense system to protect the
underlying tissues. If the cause of pressure is not
relieved, calluses become painful.
Common sites of corn and callus formation, including the
ball of the foot, under the big toe, tips and tops of
toes and between the toes. The presence of a central
‘core’ suggests a corn has formed.
… and corns
pressure becomes concentrated in a small area, a
‘hard’ corn may develop. Sometimes the
pressure of the corn or callus may produce inflammation,
which can result in acute pain, swelling and redness.
Sometimes ‘soft’ corns may form between the toes
where the skin is moist from sweat or inadequate drying.
These appear white and rubbery and are also caused by
excessive friction. Corns and calluses are most often
found on the balls of the feet or the tops of toes. They
can also be found on heels and even along the sides of
causes calluses and corns?
and corns are generally symptoms of underlying problems
and in some cases, early warning signals of more complex
foot disorders. Because they are caused by continuous
pressure in one particular area, they may indicate
abnormalities or deformity in bone structure or in the
way a person walks.
Often calluses and corns are caused by
ill-fitting or inappropriate footwear.
gets calluses and corns?
everyone! In fact, calluses and corns affect more people
than any other kind of foot problem. Some people have a
natural tendency to develop calluses because of their
skin type. For instance, elderly people have less fatty
tissue and elasticity in their feet and because of a
lack of padding, calluses may form on the bottom of the
foot. Also, people who work in occupations that require
them to spend a lot of time on their feet are prone to
to treat calluses and corns
most important thing to remember about treating calluses
and corns is never do it yourself without seeing a
specialist first. Because calluses are generally
symptoms of other problems, it is important to have a
your feet to work out what could be causing the
pressure. Over-the-counter remedies such as corn paint
or plasters generally only treat the symptoms – not
Also, they can easily damage the healthy skin
surrounding the corn if not used properly. Commercial
preparations should only be used following professional
It is important that you
never cut corns or calluses yourself. In the warm, moist
confines of enclosed shoes, infection can easily develop
and small cuts can quickly become serious wounds.
podiatrist will not only recommend ways to relieve pain
and get rid of the corn or callus, but can also help
with isolating the cause and preventing the problem
treat painful corns, your podiatrist will gently remove
some of the hard skin of the callus so that the centre
of the corn can be removed.
allow the callus to heal and prevent future cases, your
podiatrist may redistribute pressure on the foot with
soft padding and strapping or deflective appliances that
fit easily into your shoes. For corns on the toes, small
foam wedges are useful for relieving pressure on
affected parts. For older patients suffering from
calluses on the soles of the feet, extra shock
absorption for the ball of the foot can help to
compensate for loss of natural padding.
Your podiatrist may also discuss
the type of footwear most likely to cause corns and
calluses. In some cases, special shoe inserts (orthoses)
may be prescribed to reduce excessive weight bearing
forces on the foot and provide long-term relief.
corns and calluses and caring for your feet
best way to prevent the development of calluses and
corns is to pay attention to your feet when you feel
there is extra pressure on specific areas. Properly
fitting shoes are essential, especially if you spend
long periods of time on your feet and it is important
that you never wear others’ shoes. A moisturiser used
daily, will help to keep your skin supple. But don’t
forget that these problems are caused by pressure. If
you feel you may be developing a callus or corn, or you
already have one, the best thing to do is seek
professional advice and treatment from your local