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Understanding Corns and Calluses: Differentiating and Knowing When to Consult a Podiatrist

removal heel callus
Jubilee Thobejane

Corns and calluses are common foot conditions characterised by thickened, hardened areas of skin. While they may seem similar, there are distinct differences between the two. In this blog, we will explore what corns and calluses are, discuss their causes and symptoms, and outline when it is necessary to seek professional care from a podiatrist.

Corns vs. Calluses:

Both Corns and calluses are areas of skin that have become thickened. They develop in response to repeated pressure or friction, typically on the hands or feet. However, there are distinct differences between the two. 

Corns are smaller and more defined, often appearing as hard, raised bumps with a central core, which can be surrounded by inflamed skin. They usually develop on the tops and sides of toes or on the sole of the foot. They can cause discomfort or pain, especially when pressed upon.

Calluses, on the other hand, are larger areas of toughened skin that often develop on weight-bearing areas such as the heels or balls of the feet. They are larger and broader, with a more diffuse thickening of the skin. While calluses are usually painless, they can sometimes cause a dull ache or tenderness.

Symptoms and Effects:

Both corns and calluses can be unsightly and may interfere with comfortable walking or wearing certain footwear if left untreated. In severe cases, they can even lead to complications such as ulceration or infection. Proper foot care and appropriate footwear can help prevent the formation of corns and calluses. The treatments available range from over-the-counter remedies to professional intervention for more severe cases.

When to Consult a Podiatrist:

While self-care measures can often alleviate symptoms, there are situations in which consulting a podiatrist is necessary. If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain due to corns and calluses on your feet, it’s advisable to consult a podiatrist promptly. Corns and calluses are often caused by friction and pressure, typically from ill-fitting shoes or abnormal foot mechanics. If these conditions persist despite over-the-counter treatments or if you have diabetes or circulation issues, seeking professional guidance is essential. Additionally, if you notice any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or drainage around the affected area, it’s crucial to see a podiatrist promptly to prevent complications. Early intervention by a podiatrist can alleviate discomfort, prevent further complications, and provide personalised care to address the underlying causes of corns and calluses.

Podiatric Treatment and Prevention:

A podiatrist can offer various treatment options, including safe and effective debridement techniques to remove corns and calluses. They can also assess your foot mechanics, recommend appropriate footwear, and provide custom orthotic solutions to address underlying causes. Moreover, podiatrists can educate you on proper foot hygiene, self-care techniques, and preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of corns and calluses recurring.

In conclusion, understanding the difference between corns and calluses and knowing when to consult a podiatrist is crucial for maintaining healthy and pain-free feet. While self-care measures can provide relief in many cases, seeking professional care is necessary for severe symptoms, high-risk individuals, and persistent conditions. A podiatrist can provide specialized care, alleviate discomfort, and help you implement preventive strategies to promote optimal foot health. Don’t let corns and calluses hinder your mobility and well-being! Schedule a consultation with a podiatrist to ensure your feet receive the best possible care. Contact us Today

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