Corns and calluses are both caused by increased friction against the skin of the toes and feet. Wearing shoes that are too loose, too tight or otherwise don't fit properly is a primary cause of both calluses and corns, and they are also more common among people with certain foot shapes and those with a family history of corns and calluses. While both corns and calluses are areas of hardened, thickened skin, corns have a central “core” portion that can be especially painful when pressure is applied. Corns and Calluses can form on just about any part of the foot.
Corns and calluses are associated with considerable pain when pressure is applied to the area, including pain caused by the pressure of shoes. Many patients with corns and calluses will attempt to minimize painful symptoms by changing the way they walk, resulting in strain and stress in other parts of the feet as well as the ankles and knees. Gait changes can also cause balance issues, increasing the risk of falls.
Some very thick corns and calluses can be carefully trimmed to remove thick layers of tissue that increase pain and pressure. For long-term relief, custom orthotics can provide a real solution by redistributing weight, so pressure points are eliminated. Patients can also help prevent corns and calluses by wearing shoes that fit properly and by avoiding high heels.
Drugstore liquids and medicated pads use caustic substances that can injure surrounding tissues, and they do not address the problem that is causing corns and calluses to form in the first place. Likewise, cushions may provide some relief, but they do not eliminate the cause of painful symptoms. Trimming corns and calluses at home is never recommended since this can substantially increase the risk of infection while also damaging surrounding healthy tissue.
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