Corns, Calluses, and Warts
Corns and calluses are protective layers of compacted, dead skin cells. They are caused by repeated friction from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe. Corns ordinarily form on the toes and calluses on the soles of the feet. The friction and pressure can burn or otherwise be painful and may be relieved by moleskin or padding on the affected areas.
Never cut corns or calluses with any instrument, and never apply home remedies, except under a podiatrist's instructions.
Get Tough on Calluses
We all love attractive feet, but most of us have to admit to having at least some tough-looking patches of skin on the soles of our feet. Calluses can be found all over the body, but they typically emerge in places where excessive friction is found. Your feet deal with friction every day, toes against toes and feet against socks or shoes. That is why they are such a common area for these hard, dry patches of skin to form.
What Is A Callus?
Also known as a keratoma or a tyloma, a callus is just a buildup of dead skin. This skin hardens and protects underlying tissues from injury. They can be found anywhere on the body, but are usually seen on the fingers of people who work with their hands or on the bottoms of the feet. The most common places to find these dry spots are on the heel and beneath the metatarsal heads. They are often found in people who use their feet a lot or do not wear shoes very often. Other reasons for this thickened skin to form can be structural (flat feet, longer metatarsal bones) or societal (wearing high heeled shoes that are too tight and narrow, running marathons). These dry patches are usually painless, but they can sometimes throb or burn.
Is It a Callus or a Corn?
Corns are also dry, hard patches of dead skin. While calluses are found on the bottom of the feet, where the friction is between the foot and the insoles, corns are usually found above or between the toes. The constant rubbing against the shoe uppers or other toes can cause a build up of dead skin. The core of a corn can either be soft or hard. A soft corn is found in between any toes, while a hard corn is found only on bony parts of the toe. Soft corns form where perspiration keeps the skin moist.
Treatment of Calluses
The first step of treating this condition is to prevent it in the first place. Avoid activities that cause irritation and wear proper shoes. You might try a shoe insert or custom-made orthotic device to keep the pressure off certain areas of your feet.
However, if you do happen to develop a hard, dry patch of skin, there are things you can do to remove it. A doctor can trim away some of the excess skin. Don’t ever try this at home because you could hurt yourself or trim too deep, which could expose your body to infection. There are several medications that a doctor might prescribe to remove the dead skin. You can use an emery board or pumice stone to slough away some of the build up. In very severe cases where calluses keep reforming, surgery may be required to realign the bones.
Warts? No Worries.
Warts aren’t just for witches on Halloween anymore. Anyone of any age can develop a plantar wart on the bottom of their feet. They are not a major health concern, but they can become uncomfortable. It is important to take care of your feet to prevent the development of a wart in the first place.What Are These Growths?
Warts are small growths or lesions on your skin that are part of the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. Since it is a virus, it is able to enter your body through small cuts. Sometimes plantar warts can grow inwards because of the pressure your foot puts on them. In this case there may be a callus that forms around it. You may also find that there is pain, tenderness, or irritation associated with walking or standing for long periods of time. Although most varieties can be very contagious, plantar warts typically are not as easily passed from person to person. Still, they thrive in warm, moist conditions so it is a good idea to take precaution when your feet happen to be in that kind of environment.
Prevention is the best treatment. One of the most important things you can do for your feet is to keep them clean and dry as much as possible. This reduces the risk of the virus entering your body. Allow your shoes at least one full day, or 24 hours, to completely dry out before wearing them again. Never wear the same socks more than one day in a row. Your feet sweat a lot during the day, especially if you are active. This sweat provides the moistness that HPV needs to develop and grow. If you will be in a gym shower or at a public pool, wear a pair of old flip flops to decrease your chances of picking up the virus. Warts can spread on your own body, so if you do find one don’t pick at it because this promotes spreading. Use disposable nail tools (emery boards and pumice stones) so that you don’t accidentally use a contaminated tool on a healthy foot. If you come into direct contact with your own wart, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.Treating the Problem
Treating warts can take time. If you decide to just leave your wart alone and let it heal on its own, it can take a year or two to completely disappear. You may try various medications, or need a prescription-strength one. These are usually made with salicylic acid and not only get rid of the wart, but strengthen your immune system so that recurrence is unlikely. Another therapy that is often used is cryotherapy, or freezing off the growth. This is done by using liquid nitrogen on the wart. It will cause a blister and in about a week the blister will fall off taking the layers of dead skin with it. After a few treatments your wart should be gone. If none of these treatment methods work, there is also laser therapy, other options with different types of acid, and surgical removal in extreme cases.