Avoiding Calluses and Corns

I love walking around without shoes during the summer and fall months. However, by the end the balls of my feet are dry and cracked… Some people, on the other hand, find that calluses can be beneficial – if, for instance, you play guitar, dance, run or work in jobs requiring manual labor, etc. But usually calluses on hands or corns on the soles of the feet are undesired, even painful.

Calluses, the thickening of the skin, are caused by repeated friction or pressure – this is also known as hyperkeratosis. Corns usually form on or around the toes and they develop because of ill-fitting shoes or an abnormality on the feet that keeps them from fitting comfortably into normal shoes. Calluses are evenly distributed around skin that has been rubbed and/or irritated over a prolonged period of time and they can happen on other places besides the feet.

If you are like me, then perhaps taking some time to care for your hands and feet (especially during the summer months) will help keep you outdoors and enjoying the weather without pain, cracking or irritation. I have provided some healthy tips that may assist you in taking care of unwanted calluses and corns.

What To Look For

Skin (especially on the feet or hands) that have become:

  • Thick, cracking and hardened
  • dry, peeling and/or flaky
  • discoloration of the affected site after prolonged irritation

Healthy Tips

  • Avoid ill-fitting shoes especially for long walks or work that requires a lot of footwork.
  • Look for shoes with low heels and avoid shoes that narrow at the toes.
  • Avoid walking on hard surfaces (especially outdoors) for extended periods of time without shoes or socks.
  • If you have a corn on your toe or on the sole of your foot, use donut-shaped corn pads (available at your local pharmacy) to protect your skin until you can remove the corn.
  • Try using a pumice stone to gently wear down corns and calluses.
  • Calluses on the hands from weightlifting, gardening, sports, etc. can be treated by wearing gloves.
  • Avoid walking hard on the ground, causing greater pressure to the soles and heels of the feet if possible.
  • Foot or hand powder also helps reduce friction.
  • Wear socks if you are treating/healing painful calluses.
  • Shoe inserts and pads made of moleskin, lamb’s wool or felt can also assist in bringing support and relief to painful corns or calluses.
  • If corns are recurring, you have diabetes or poor circulation speak with a physician for further assistance.

Pat Mulford • patmulford013@gmail.com