Callus (hyperkeratosis) is an area of hard, thickened skin that forms in response to pressure or friction. Calluses are generally considered to be a natural, protective response to abnormal stress placed on the skin (e.g. rubbing, pressure). Like a suit of armour, calluses are the body’s way of protecting the underlying tissues from further damage. When the pressure on the skin is unrelenting and becomes concentrated a painful corn with a cone-shaped core can develop.
As podiatrists, we treat callus and corns on the feet however, they can occur in other locations. For example, rowers and weight lifters experience them frequently on their hands and guitarists regularly get them on their fingers. If you have callus on your feet, a podiatrist can carefully and professionally shave away as much of the callus as possible and trim out the core of any corns they find.
Trimming away the hard skin is often a great way to achieve immediate symptomatic relief. However, it doesn’t prevent corns and callus from continuing to return weeks, months or even years later. The reason for this is simple, calluses and corns form where there is excessive pressure or friction. This means that they can develop again and again for as long as long as their cause (i.e. pressure, rubbing) remains, making prevention key.
The source of such pressure and friction varies between people. For some it relates to shoes they wear or the way they walk or stand. For others, it can even be a combination of these things or a range of other factors. If you are interested in finding out more about why your corns and callus keep returning then a consultation with one of our podiatrists can help you get started. A more detailed assessment of the way your walk and the shoes you wear might need to be arranged to get to the bottom of the underlying cause your callus. Once your podiatrist has a good idea of the most likely culprit for your corns and callus, they can suggest preventative techniques that will hopefully increase the time between visits and wherever possible, prevent your corns and callus from coming back.
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