East Coast Podiatry
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Last Updated: 15 May 2019

Corns and Callus

Corns and calluses are hardened layers of skin that develop on high pressure or irritated areas of skin. Most frequently found on the feet and toes as well as on the hands and fingers, these develop when your skin tries to protect itself from friction or pressure. They are not contagious but can cause discomfort or become painful.

Corns typically have a centre that is usually hard, though soft corns can also occur. The primary difference between the two is their location and level of discomfort. Calluses generally occur on weight bearing areas such as the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, or on the knees, while corns occur more often in non-weight bearing parts of the skin such as the tops and sides of your toes. While it is rare for calluses to cause pain, corns can be painful when pressed. If your corns or calluses hurt or are inflamed, you should consult a healthcare professional for recommendations on possible modes of treatment.

While many home remedies for corns and calluses exist in Singapore, we recommend caution when practicing self-treatment as many suggested remedies contain acid to help break down tissue or soften the corn before filing in an attempt to remove the corn. Those with diabetes or reduced circulation should be extremely careful about self-treating corns or calluses as even a minor injury to the foot can lead to non-healing wounds. To prevent this issue, patients with such conditions should be careful not to allow calluses to grow too thick as this can press into the foot, causing pain, or worse, conceal a much deeper wound or ulceration. People with certain deformities of the foot, such as hammer toes, are prone to corns and calluses.

If your foot corn or callus is causing irritation or pain, it is best to see a podiatrist for removal and conservative care. As specialists in lower limb conditions, podiatrists are trained to remove corns and calluses as well as look out for and prevent any complications caused by these issues.

To prevent this issue from reoccurring and provide long-term relief, maintaining and offloading the area is necessary. Offloading is the process of reducing pressure on the foot to improve healing, and this is frequently accomplished using custom insoles orthotics as well as specialised casts and bandages.

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