A callus is a local thickening of skin, characterized by accelerated keratinization, a process by which skin cells lose their moisture and are replaced by horny tissue. Calluses tend to be yellowish in color, picture yellow tented sheets of wax paper. The thicker they are stacked the more yellow the color. The thickening of the skin is caused by constant friction. It’s the body’s way of protecting the sensitive skin underneath. Unfortunately after time calluses can dry, crack and become painful. Most calluses are on the bottom of the foot and are called a plantar callus. Young people develop calluses from activity. Elderly people lose the padding in there metatarsal area and are prone to calluses. Ill-fitting shoes that are tight will increase friction between the toes and cause calluses. Most calluses are not painful and can be treated with a sanding pad.
A corn is an area of skin which has become thickened due more to pressure than friction. Corns are small and round in shape. Corns press into the deeper layers of skin and can be painful. Corns can be confused with calluses because they are often inside or underneath a callus. Three Types of corns:
- The first is a hard corn, recognized by its dry, horny appearance. Hard corns frequently occur on the top of the smaller toes or on the outer side of the little toe. Tight shoes tend to apply the most pressure in these areas. Hard corns are the most common and usually appear within a callus. Having a hard corn feels like having a small pebble held under the skin, held there by a callus and then walking on it.
- A soft corn is described as such because of its softer and rubbery texture, this is because of moisture from sweat. They most commonly develop between the fourth and fifth (baby) toes. Usually the least painful of the three unless they become infected.
- The third type is a Seed corn, the most often occur on the ball of the foot underneath a callus but can also occur near or on the edge of a nail. Like seeds spread upon the ground they usually appear in clusters. They are small and are recognized by a white plug in the skin. They also can also be painful.
How Can I Treat my Corns and Calluses?
We are going to recommend a few treatments, I want to state clearly that anyone who has an infection or is Diabetic should only see a physician and or podiatrist and none of these treatments involve a person cutting, scrapping or digging with a sharp object.
File down the calluses and corns by using a file or pumice stone (emphasis on gently). This should be done after soaking your feet.
After bathing use a moisturizing cream (Goal is to soften those calluses and corns). Podiatrist recommend one that contains urea.
There are sleeves for toes that relieve pressure. Splints can be used to create separation between the toes, this will allow corns to heal. For calluses, use cushioning pads and shoe insoles to relieve the pain and help the healing process
Do Not Use Salicylic Acid: People have success with it but podiatrists claim that if the foot is kept wet from the moisture of sweat the acid keeps working. There are cases when the podiatrist sees the patient when the acid has eaten its way down to the bone or tendons.
8 Homeopathic remedies recommended by Readers Digest:
- Castor Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar: Fill a basin with hot, soapy water, then add a cup of apple cider vinegar before soaking your feet in the water for at least 15 minutes. Calluses should be softened enough to be filed with a pumice stone. For corns, dab some castor oil on after soaking your feet. Corns should peel away after about 10 days of the treatment.
- Vitamin E or A : Before bed, use a needle to prick a vitamin E or A capsule, then rub the oil into your corn. After letting the oil sit for a few minutes, put on a white cotton sock and head to bed. Repeat nightly until the corn is gone.
- Lemon: Before going to sleep, cut a slice of lemon peel about an inch long and the width of your toe. Place the pith over the corn, securing with a bandage and covering with a white cotton sock overnight. Continue each night until the corn disappears.
- Onion: In a glass container, pour white vinegar over a slice of white onion. Leave the container in a warm place during the day, then cover the corn with the onion before you go to bed. Use a bandage or bandage tape to hold it in place while you sleep. If the corn is not soft enough to be removed in the morning, repeat the treatment nightly until it softens more.
- Bread: Soak a half a slice of stale bread in apple cider vinegar and secure it to the affected part of your foot with adhesive tape. Wrap with plastic wrap and slip on a cotton sock. Your corn or callus should disappear by morning.
- Castor Oil: For corns on toes, place a non-medicated, O-shaped corn pad around the corn. Use a cotton swab to dab a few drops of castor oil onto the corn, then cover with adhesive tape to keep it from moving. Wear old socks in case the castor oil leaks through.
- Aspirin: Crush five or six uncoated aspirin tablets and mix with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Once you’ve added enough to form a paste, rub it onto a corn or callus, using a bandage to hold it in place. After at least 10 minutes, the bump should be loose enough to gently rub off with a pumice stone.
- Epsom Salts: For calluses, toss a handful of Epsom salts into a basin of warm water, then soak feet for about 10 minutes. Once the dead skin has softened, use a callus file or pumice stone to rub off the top layers. Continue to grind the callus down a bit each day after a bath or shower. It might take a few weeks, but trying to remove the whole thing at once will make the callus worse if you grind too deep.
See a podiatrist: There are many videos on U-tube showing Podiatrists removing corns and calluses. They most often us a scalpel and grinder. The scalpel blade looks like a ¾ inch pen knife.
Now That I Have Gotten Rid Of Them, How Do I Keep Them from Coming Back?
- First and foremost get proper fitting shoes. Therapeutic shoes with inserts are recommended. They are Ultra Depth, this will allow the fitting of a shoe insert and should illuminate the top of the toes from rubbing on the shoe. Therapeutic shoes are now more stylish and reasonably priced than ever.
- Buy Therapeutic shoe inserts: These can be bought off the shelf or made from a mold of your feet. These inserts will cushion the friction and pressure of your walking gait. You won’t believe the difference between a custom insert and an insert that comes with a standard shoe. When I first compared, I thought, “I have been walking on tissue paper”.
- Avoid wearing high heels.
- Keep your feet moisturized.