Calluses and corns are part of the body's natural defense system, designed to protect the skin against repeated friction and pressure. Good, right?
Some calluses might be welcomed, like drummers who want calluses on their hands to avoid frequent blisters. Or maybe a tight rope walker would want them to protect his feet from the rope. It could happen.
While that's all true, most people would say calluses are an uncomfortable nuisance.
Elderly people and those who stand a lot, have flat feet or wear shoes that are narrow, tight or high-heeled are at a greater risk of developing calluses and corns.
When the skin is exposed to frequent pressure and friction, dead skin cells accumulate, harden and thicken in that area to create a callus. A callus protects the skin and underlying tissue from further damage caused by the rubbing.
Many people develop these on their feet when they begin to work out or get into a running regimen because of the excess perspiration combined with the increased friction.
They most often appear on the ball of the foot, under the big toe and on the tops or tips of the toes. When this pressure is focused on a very small area, a hard corn may develop.
Calluses and corns can be painful and become inflamed and swollen. They can also be a sign that there's an underlying problem or foot disorder such as a joint that's out of alignment.
Corns and calluses can also be pared down physically for patients (we do not suggest having them shaved at a typical nail salon).
Our grandparents knew the value of Moleskin, but then again, they probably did a lot more manual labor than us and had more of a reason to use it. Give Moleskin a try at home.
You can cut it into a doughnut shape to relieve the pressure of the corn or callus. It's cheap, easy and found at most drug stores. We also offer it as a convenience item at Lexington Podiatry. Or, even easier, try Dr. Jill's pads or other types gel corn protectors.
You can also try using urea based creams to help enzymatically debride any dead skin build up. Make sure to use these creams on dry, callused areas only and never on your face!