Seemingly one of the simple problems in feet, but Callus (hard skin) and Corns can be the signs that warn of other things to come. Generally mis-understood, Callus and corns are treated as a nuisance to get rid of. Many options for off the shelf products exist to treat Callus and Corns, but have very little success and in some cases aggravate the problem.
So, what are Calluses and Corns?
In order to understand the problem, I will try to explain what happens to the skin. The skin consists of two layers, the Dermis and the Epidermis. The Dermis is where all the blood vessels, nerves exist. The Epidermis consists of 5 layers of cells in different stages of death. The reason why we wash, it to remove the surface layers of skin and with it all the accumulation of the day, perspiration, dirt, bacteria etc.
See also Callus and corns
The surface layer of the skin consists of high levels of keratin which is a protein that gives it its resilience. The new cells migreate throught the Dermis up throught the Epidermis and eventually they fall off.
If for some reason, there is trauma to an area, like the small toe, or ball of the foot, and if this trauma is repeated….the dermis undergoes compression, which drives out the blood, then when the pressure relaeses, the blood floods back creating a Reactive Hyperaemia. This stimulates increaced cellular production, speeding up the amount of cells that grow. I addition the surface cells of the skin become more adherent, instead of fall off, they retain their position. The consequence is that the skin layer becomes thicker, and ass the cells pack in from beneath, the thickness becomes quite an impediment to how the foot feels.
These sites of pressure are unique to the individual and depend on the type of shoes worn, as well as the type of foot mechanics that exist. This means the way the foot moves in the shoe has a ,ot to do with the amount of rubbing, shearing and pressure that leads to Callus and Corn formation.
A Corn is essentially a Callus that has a more focused spot of pressure, creating a deeper thickening of the skin. They can get as deep to feel like walking on a stone.
Whenever any of these skin formations form, they are indicators of change in foot function or footwear. Ideally they should be advised upon earlier rather than later. It is by far easier to solve a problem in its early stages.
As a Podiatrist, we take these signs into account when examining the feet. They tell an awefull lot about your foot mechanics and gait patterns.
Treatment for Callus and Corns traditionally involves removal with skilled scapel work. protection of the area, deflection of pressure, insoles, excersises, footwear adjustments and orthotics may be needed to help.
Marigold Therapy has a usefull corn busting treatment. Utilising a paste derived from marigols Flowers that has an anti-inflammatory effect, reduces and restores normal celllar growth in the area, and can cure the corn, in conjunction with biomechanical and footwear advice.
Be careful of off the shelf products as they tend to burn good skin as well as the callus, and this can lead to localised inflammation and more pain. If you are elderly and have any circulatory problem or Diabetes, please do not use these products without adequate advice.