Corns on the feet or calluses. What are they, how to treat them and how to prevent them25 May 2022
The corns or calluses They are a very frequent and well-known pathology among the population, in fact, around 3 out of 10 people suffer from them almost daily, but do you know everything about them? How are they classified? or how can they be treated and eliminated?
WHAT ARE CALLUSES ON THE FEET? SYMPTOM
The corns or calluses (also called plantar hyperkeratosis) are a response of our body to a excess friction and/or pressure in certain areas of the foot.
They are a thickening of the outermost area of the skin caused by an accumulation of dead cells.
- thick or hardened skin in a specific area.
- Texture rough touch.
- They can cause pain or discomfort when touched, rubbed against them or when we walk.
TYPES AND CLASSIFICATION: HARDNESS OR HELOMAS
Generally, and mostly due to ignorance, the population includes and calls “calluses” any “hard” lesion that appears on the skin of the foot. Therefore, to avoid confusion, it is important to know differentiate well all these alterations in the skin:
Within Calluses o plantar hyperkeratosis we meet TWO TYPES:
1. HARDNESSES OR DIFFUSE HYPERKERATOSIS
This alteration in the skin is more extensive and shallow, and is characterized by having the rough edges and a yellowish color, which derives from keratin cluster in the zone.
In the article “Hardness in the feet. What are they, how to treat them and how to prevent them” We analyze in depth this type of skin injury.
Hardness or hyperkeratosis
2. HELOMAS OR LOCALIZED HYPERKERATOSIS
In this case, the alteration in the skin is more concentric, deep and defined, and depending on the area can cause discomfort or pain by touching or walking. On many occasions, helomas they are not so visible are covered by hardness.
Within the helomas we can distinguish several TYPES:
PLANTAR NAIL OR PLANTAR HELOMA
They appear on the sole of the foot due to friction and pressure on this area. present greater pain to rubbing and walking, since It feels like stepping on a "nail" in every step we take
plantar heloma (after enucleation)
“ROOSTER EYE”, “CHICKEN EYE” or INTERDIGITAL HELOMA
This injury is also caused by friction and pressure, but in this case the “causatives” are the finger bones when they rub against each other. Therefore, the "crow's eye" is located between the toes, more often between the fourth and fifth toes.
Interdigital heloma or “crow's eye” between the fourth and fifth fingers
Dorsal heloma on fifth finger
HELOMA OF THE FOUNDATION
This type of callus appears on the soft part that joins two toes. Usually painful and appears most often between the fourth and fifth fingers. In the article “Hellomas. What are they, how to treat them and how to prevent them” We analyze in depth this type of skin injury.
Heloma of the fornix between the fourth and fifth fingers
AND ARE PLANTAR WARTS ALSO CALLUSES?
Although many people usually include it within the calluses, it is important to note that the plantar warts They are NOT a type of callus. This pathology is not produced by repeated friction or pressure. En “Warts on the feet. What are they and how to treat them? We tell you in detail everything about them.
Plantar warts are a viral infection caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.
CAUSES. WHY DO CALLUSES OCCUR?
Here are some of the 5 causes most common causes of corns and calluses on the feet:
the shoes of narrow tip favor the appearance of calluses, since squeeze fingers and be more together inside, in every step we take friction is constant and repeated. For the same reason, the heeled shoes They are also the cause of many skin problems like this.
The socks act as barrier between the skin of the foot and the shoe, but when we don't carry, the year of the skin (especially of the fingers) causes the appearance of this lesion. In turn, if the socks are misplaced (forming wrinkles or folds) also can generate friction and therefore calluses.
3. BAD TREAD
Not all of us support the same when walking or distribute the pressure in the same way. For all this, calluses are often generated and hardness in the same points due to an incorrect way of stepping. As we discussed in the next point of "Treatments", a biomechanical study of the tread It will be key to correct it.
4. LACK OF HYDRATION
The skin of the heel is one of the parts most affected by the foot dehydration, since there is an accumulation of peeling and dead cells. In the post “Dry or cracked heels” We tell you everything to recover its elasticity and softness.
5. OTHER PATHOLOGIES
TREATMENT FOR CALLUSES. How to treat this skin lesion?
The first thing we have to keep in mind is that to treat calluses it is essential go to a professional to determine the origin of this injury.
As we have commented before, there are pathologies that can be confused with calluses, and if, for example, we treat at home a plantar wart (caused by the Human Papillomavirus) as if it were a callus, We aggravate the situation and spread the infection, since they are two pathologies of different treatment.
Although many people think otherwise, the treatment for the removal of calluses is painless for the patient.
The podiatrist will most appropriate treatment according to each case. The most frequent are:
podiatric treatment most common for this type of alteration in the skin of the feet. Consists of the removal of calluses and alterations in the toenails, in order to avoid and prevent possible discomfort.
In this treatment, the delamination It will be key to eliminate the accumulation of dead cells in the skin of the foot (hardness).
In the case of helomas, this delamination will allow reaching deeper layers of the skin, where the heloma is to be treated. Thanks to specific instruments of the podiatrist, the heloma enucleation, that is, deep retreat.
Under no circumstances should calluses be treated at home, helomas o hardness with these chemical products (totally discouraged by podiatrists). The callicides they do not eliminate the cause of the problem, but they generate a wound and burn on the skin which aggravates the situation. We tell you everything about callicides and we analyze this clinical case in the article “Callicidas, are they recommended?”.
Patient with macerated and burned skin due to the use of callicides
TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The podiatric professional will also help the patient to choose the right footwear according to the way you step and walk, and in turn will take into account other pathologies that may affect you, such as deformities, diabetes, poor circulation, etc.
BIOMECHANICAL STUDY OF THE GAIT
Carrying out a complete biomechanical study of the tread it will be possible to determine the pressure points when walking for ourselves thanks to the pressure platform and, with some custom templates, rebalancing pressures and power unload those points of maximum pressure of the foot to prevent the appearance of plantar hyperkeratosis in the short and long term.
In the vast majority of cases, calluses do not require surgical intervention. Some are susceptible to being intervened, but they are not usually the definitive solution. This treatment will be the last option, unless the specialist determines it.
PREVENTION HOW CAN I PREVENT THE APPEARANCE OF CORNS OR CALLUSES?
There are guidelines and advice that we can follow to prevent future calluses on the feetAnd including avoid that they are always generated again in the same areas. Some of them are:
Must be comfortable and wide last so that the foot is not oppressed inside. It is important don't abuse them heeled shoes (remember, they should not exceed 3-4 centimeters).
Change and intersperse footwear regularly is also recommended, since many people wear the same shoes every day for months. This change will allow the foot to "rest" and will prevent friction from not always occurring in the same areas.
VISIT THE PODIATRIST
Proper hygiene will protect from infections both in the skin and in the nails of the feet. In addition, it is essential to dry them well after the shower, focusing between the fingers.
applying every night specific creams for feet, like U20 Podoactive cream, we will be able to stop the appearance of many skin lesions. It is important to influence the heels and give a massage for complete absorption.
This element allows us to exfoliate dead skin, with the aim of prevent the appearance of hardness. It is essential to do so superficial, and in case of any irritation or injury go to the professional. In the article "Pumice. 6 tips to use it on your feet correctly” we tell you all about it.
Using a pumice stone for your feet is not a treatment, but a complement.
AND… ARE CALLUSES GOOD FOR THE FEET? DO THEY HAVE ADVANTAGES?
According to a recent study conducted among the Biomedical Engineering faculty at Harvard University and Liverpool University discusses, among other issues, that calluses have a beneficial effect on the feet of those who walk barefoot, since they do not compromise sensitivity or gait, while footwear can reduce the ability to perceive stimuli.
According to the study, having thick calluses offers protection similar to that of most shoes currently in use.
Víctor Alfaro, general director of Podoactiva and an expert in podiatry and biomechanics, analyzes these and other statements of the study in depth to know if calluses on the feet are really beneficial. you can read it on “Are calluses good for feet?”
Photo-montage taken from the analyzed article: "The advantages of having calluses on the feet" of El País
Ultimately, although the Calluses are a very common problem among people, not for that we should downplay it. They are not serious, but when these lesions appear on the feet they are indicating that something is wrong (either the footwear, the way of walking, etc.). Therefore, we advise you to visit a podiatrist to assess why this foot injury appears.
Ana Carbo and Antonio Gomez
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