Get Tough with Corns and Calluses
Some occupations are tough on your feet. Did you know that carpet layers can have a big problem with calluses? As they stomp the carpet to smooth it out, their heels and toes rub against their shoes and form thick layers of skin. Landscapers can have the same problems from pounding a shovel into hard earth. But heavy work isn’t the only thing that causes corns and calluses on your feet.
Calluses and Corns Are Great Protectors
These layers of dry skin form wherever your toes or feet experience friction. This is your body’s way of preventing damage to the fragile tissues under your skin. Extra skin cells form at the pressure points and build up layers of protection. The outer layers don’t receive the same blood supply and nourishment as the layers underneath, so they turn dry and tough. Shoes that are too tight or too loose, have seams or thin soles that irritate your skin, or have heels that force your weight onto the ball of your foot, can cause this friction. If you have a toe deformity like hammertoes or bunions, parts of your toes are forced against the top or side of your shoe and can result in corns and calluses.
The Difference between Calluses and Corns
Calluses are spread over a broader area like the edges of your heels, the ball of your foot, or the side of your big toe. Calluses are usually not painful unless the skin is very dry and cracks form. Corns are smaller and rounder—hard spots that appear on the tops or sides of your toes, usually where a joint rubs against your shoe. They can also form between your toes where they rub together, but because of the extra moisture from sweat these are usually flatter, soft corns. Corns more often cause pain because of the extra pressure the built up skin puts on the tender area.
How to Get Tough with Tough Skin
The first thing to do is to check your footwear. Wearing shoes that pinch, cramp, and force your toes out of position is asking for trouble, as are heels that are too high. Wearing sandals or shoes without socks is another way for your feet to slide around and cause friction. Even the socks themselves can be a problem if they don’t fit properly or bunch up inside your shoes. Once you have eliminated what is causing the friction, you can work on the existing corns and calluses. Try soaking them in warm water and using a pumice stone to gently smooth away the dry skin. Follow with a good moisturizer. By removing the friction and practicing daily foot care, the tough, dry skin will gradually disappear, and your feet will be soft and smooth again.
One caveat: if you have diabetes, you should have a medical professional deal with any issues on your feet. Diabetic feet are especially prone to problems, and you don’t want to do anything that could cause ulcers or an infection that could end requiring amputation. Dr. Howard Schaengold at The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic has professional training to address all your foot problems. Give our Sammamish, WA office a call today at (425) 868-3338, and put your foot care into our hands. We also serve the Issaquah, Redmond, and Bellevue areas.