They may not be dangerous, but calluses are definitely annoying. Although they can develop anywhere on the body, it is more common to occur on the feet, luckily, there are habits that will help you alleviate this condition. Here you can meet them:
Corns or calluses are layers of thickened and hardened skin caused by constant pressure or friction. They are usually round, and usually appear on the sides and on the top of the feet. They can also be seen in the elbows or hands, especially those of people who frequently do manual labor: farmers, mechanics, gardeners, guitarists, etc.
This thickening is not a skin disease, but a protective reaction by the body to prevent painful blisters from developing. As the corns thicken, they can be painful.
Although they must be evaluated by a podiatrist, no specialized tests are needed to diagnose them. Direct observation of the callus or surrounding skin will determine the type of callus:
- Hard– These are small, concentrated areas of tough skin, usually found within a larger area of thickened skin
- Soft: they are grayish or whitish and have a rubbery texture. They usually appear between the toes.
How to treat and prevent them
To treat corns, podiatrists can resort to chiropody, that is, the removal of corns with a scalpel. However, removing the calluses and making the skin completely healthy is no guarantee that the calluses will not reappear. To avoid this, the conditions that caused it must be attacked, for this, keep in mind the following tips:
Perhaps it is one of the most popular measures to deal with calluses. You should completely submerge the corn in warm water until the skin softens (approximately 10 minutes).
A pumice stone is a porous and abrasive volcanic rock that is used to remove dry skin. To use it, you just have to immerse it in warm water for a few minutes and then file the area affected by calluses. Ideally, use gentle circular or lateral movements, and not remove too much skin, as it can increase the risk of bleeding or infection.
Our footwear is often the main responsible for those annoying calluses. To avoid this problem, try to buy shoes that are neither too tight nor too baggy. Experts advise buying them at the end of the day, when they tend to appear slightly swollen from the effort made during the day, to have a more accurate picture of what you will need to carry out your routine.
Keeping your feet clean is essential so that calluses do not appear. Wash them daily with soap, water and a brush. Also cut your nail, since if they are too long they can cause the toes to push against the shoe and generate pressure that gives rise to the callus.
There are special pads against calluses, which are intended to relieve excess pressure or friction around the callus. They are found in different materials, such as foam or felt, and are usually screw-shaped, to redistribute pressure. They should be placed in such a way that the callus is in the central hole.
In addition to friction, dryness is another factor responsible for the appearance of calluses on the feet. How can we prevent this situation? Keeping them hydrated. For this there are many moisturizing creams and lotions that dissolve the protein keratin, responsible for the formation of calluses and surrounding dead skin.
Can corns be beneficial?
In mid-2019, a group of researchers from Harvard University found that corns produced by walking barefoot would help protect the foot without affecting sensitivity or gait, unlike what happens when wearing shoes.
To test their hypothesis, the specialists examined 103 participants, 22 adults from the US and 81 from Kenya, of whom half wore shoes to walk outside and the other half regularly walked barefoot. The specialists evaluated the thickness of the calluses on the soles of the feet, the hardness and stiffness of the skin and the movements when walking.
They also studied how the use of different types of shoes affected the feet, such as those without cushions (loafers or sandals) or those with padded soles (orthopedic shoes).
When comparing the sensitivity of the foot, the experts found that their hypothesis was correct: no matter how thick the callus was, it did not appear to affect the sensitivity of the plantar nerves, whereas wearing shoes did.
“Although many people today prefer to wear shoes than to be barefoot, these inhibit the perception of tactile stimuli from the ground, and the cushioning they offer alters the impact force, generating little-known consequences,” explained Dr. Daniel Lieberman, author. of the work published in Nature.
When to see a doctor
As we noted, corns are rarely dangerous, and surgery is rarely needed. However, if you experience excessive swelling, prolonged pain, redness, or the presence of pus or drainage, you should see a doctor.
Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard Medical School, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.