This is a condition that can afflict men and women although women have it more than men due to the types of footwear worn.
It a is a condition that is commonly blamed on footwear, and certainly if one insists on buying small, pointy shoes that press on the toes, then one can expect the foot to complain with sites of pressure that will form callus or corns. But the shoes are not always to blame. Many have worn “bad” shoes and still have good feet.
The other factor in understanding the cause of corns and callus is awareness of the foot type and function.
Calluses and corns are essentially the same with the callus being more diffuse larger areas of skin thickening and the corns being more focused to the point of getting quite deep.
There are even a variety of different corns. Corns that have been around for a while that have consistant pressure applied to it, could begin to form vascular elements or neural elements. These can be extremely painful and require a slightly different approach to treatment.
Neurovasvular corns can be safely and easily treated with Laser. The S30 Podylas can restore the skin back to normal. Salicylic acid in high concentrations can also be used to clear the nerve elements and restore the corn back to a more manageable normal corn.
Calluses and corns can form anywhere on the foot. Although the most common areas are on the tops of the toes, tips of the toes and under the metatarsal areas. The lesion that forms between the 4th and 5th toe is called a Soft Corn, as it tends to be white, moist and sore. A soft corn is often confused for a fungal infection as it looks identical, however the give away is that there is often no other signs of fungus on the foot, although they can exist together.
The fact that corns are more prevalent in the elderly, is associated with the faulty foot mechanics. Feet change as we get older, leading to high pressure areas and more rubbing and shearing.
Callus formation in any foot is a indication of fault. Granted there are those that cannot avoid wearing certain shoes, but it more often indicates a change in the foot function where a biomechanical problem exits. Many women wear high heels without any problems at all. Others get a lot of rubbing , shearing and pressure.
These biomechanical problems may also manifest on other complaints, like sore feet, tired feet, leg aches, back aches, neck problems and headaches. Callus is simply a sign that the feet are not functioning the way they should, and in order to find the cause, one has to investigate the Mechanics of the feet. The earlier the better, as the more set in its ways the feet become the harder it is to solve. Many patients simply accept that they have to have their “feet done”, to stay comfortable.
Treatment by a Podiatrist involves examination of the sites of the callus, the potential cause as far as biomechanics are concerned and footwear advice. Careful scalpel technique to remove hard skin, and occasionally padding ad strapping are used. Marigold Therapy is a technique that involves the application of a paste derived from Marigold Flowers, that retards the skin development, and slows down its recurrence. In some cases even cures the corn. Toe protectors, silicone, insoles and orthotics can be used to assist with corns.
Calluses and corns form as a part of a trauma cycle that involves repetitive stress on an area that results in an increase of the bonding of the skin cells leading to thickenin
One of the ways of identifying the difference between corns and plantar warts is to see if patterns of growth emerge on both feet in identical areas. Warts are random viral infections with no pattern of growth. Calluses and corns hurt more on direct pressure, and verrucaes hurt when pinched on the sides.
Over the counter remedies are not the best answer to treating corns. The skin acids, often based in plasters do not discriminate between good and bad skin and tend to cause a localised inflammation and sometimes an infection, which often prompts people to seek help. The elderly and the young should never use these products.