Corns and Calluses: Too Thick Skin
Which organ in your body is the largest? How about the first layer of defense for your body’s immunity? Your skin is an organ that covers the entire surface of your body and protects your insides from germs and foreign objects. It also protects you from the general wear and tear of life—especially on your feet. While providing protection for your body, the skin itself isn’t immune to injury and the effects of pressure and friction. It tries to counteract the damage from wear and tear by getting thicker where it’s stressed. This, however, can cause as much discomfort for you as the original pressure on your feet.
Defending Against Friction
Calluses and corns are both thickened areas of skin. Calluses are usually wide, flat spots on the sole or underneath the toes. Corns are smaller, raised bumps that appear in non-weight bearing areas, like the tops or sides of toes. Usually they have an inner core of dead skin that can be either hard or soft. Neither of these problems are automatically painful, though they are often unsightly and embarrassing. Pressure on corns with hard centers, however, can be very painful and make it uncomfortable to wear shoes. Calluses are also likely to dry out and crack under duress, causing pain and opening your body to infection.
Corns and calluses form because the skin deals with a lot of wear and tear every day to keep your lower limbs safe. The friction and pressure stresses the tissue, so to prevent damage to the more sensitive lower layers of skin, the body defends itself by thickening the outer part.
Unfortunately, the resulting bumps and spots can be very uncomfortable. Preexisting conditions, tight or poorly-fitted shoes, loose socks that bunch up, and footwear without sufficient cushioning can all contribute to thick patches on the ball or heel of your foot and hard bumps on the toes.
When to See a Podiatrist
Some people can live comfortably with calluses and corns, though they may be embarrassed by the waxy patches or hardened bumps they cause. Others, however, find their excessive skin build-up deeply uncomfortable and have a hard time wearing certain shoes. They may even develop cracked skin around the thickened spots. In that case, ignoring corns and calluses is not a wise idea—the problem originally formed because of friction and pressure, and if you do not change anything, the condition will only worsen. Dr. Joel W. Brook and Dr. David R. Northcutt will examine your feet to determine what caused the initial problem and how to prevent it in the future, as well as help you eliminate the extra skin.
You may need to change your footwear for a better fit, especially if your shoes are too tight or too loose. If you have a preexisting condition that contributed to the thickening of the skin, you may need to work with the doctors to determine how to best correct it. Sometimes custom orthotics that relieve pressure on high-risk spots or add extra cushioning can help. The experts will also carefully scrape or grind down the bumps and patches on your feet, without damaging the healthy skin around them. This is especially important if you have a compromised immune system from a condition like diabetes. The potential complications that can occur if the skin isn’t cared for properly can open the body to dangerous infections that your weakened immune system has trouble handling.
If you’re struggling with painful bumps on your toes and waxy spots on your soles that make it hard to wear shoes, you don’t have to tolerate the problem. You can take care of your skin and eliminate the corns and calluses on your feet. Don’t wait and allow the problem to get worse. Contact Dallas Podiatry Works to restore your feet to their natural beauty and eliminate your discomfort today. Visit the website contact page or call either of our two offices: for the Dallas office, call (972) 566-7474; or for the Plano location, call (972) 943-3323.