Is it a Corn or Callus?
Corns and calluses are often confused with one another because they look similar on the skin. They are not quite the same thing though. Corns, which are hardened patches of thickened skin, generally occur on the tops and sides of the feet and toes. Calluses, on the other hand, usually occur on the skin of the soles. In other words, calluses tend to occur where there is a lot of friction while corns tend to occur in areas that experience a lot of pressure or weight.
Why Are Corns Painful?
Corns are smaller than calluses and usually have a hard, densely packed center. Corns usually cause discomfort when pressed upon (walking, standing, etc.) while calluses are generally painless. They usually have a gray center with a yellow ring of skin on the perimeter. Corns are generally hard to the touch while calluses tend to be softer.
How Do Corns Form?
Corns develop as a result of pressure. Tight shoes are the most common cause of corns, but improper gait (walking motion), high-heeled shoes, foot deformities, and wearing shoes without socks can also be problematic. Women are four times as likely as men to develop corns because of common differences in footwear.
What Can I Do About Corns On My Feet?
There are two basic ways to address a corn, conservative and active. The conservative method relies on cushions that help to take pressure off of the affected area so that it can heal naturally. The active treatment method uses medication to soften and remove the corn and/or mechanical removal of the excess skin. Both approaches have their merits.
How Do Corn Pads Work?
Self-adhesive corn pads look like donuts because their center has been removed to allow the padding to surround the corn. They cushion the affected area and reduce pressure. This may allow the corn to heal, over time, but also helps to relieve pain. Pain relief is usually immediate once the pressure is reduced.
Pads and cushions don't usually cause breaks in the skin, the way more active treatment options can, so they don't usually increase risk of infection. This benefit, in particular, makes pads ideal for individuals who are prone to infection, such as those with diabetes or a compromised immune system. Corns will usually resolve, with the help of a pad, over a course of four to six weeks. Pads are usually replaced once per day.
What Are Corn Removers?
Medications and mechanical tools both fall under the category of corn removers. Medications work by softening the corn and making it slough off faster. They are generally painless and can be less traumatic than some mechanical mechanisms when used as directed.
Ingredients in Corn Removers
Common medications used to treat corns include salicylic acid, lactic acid, and urea. In some cases, these medications also contain anti-microbial drugs to help to prevent infection. Corns usually resolve in one to two weeks with twice daily application of medication. It’s best to talk to your doctor first before using an over-the-counter liquid corn remover medication. Some ingredients may irritate healthy skin especially in people with diabetes and or circulation problems.
How Can I Remove My Corns?
Mechanical tools are the fastest means of removing corns. They come in several forms, with abrasive pads being one of the most common. Because corns are just dead skin, it is generally not painful to remove them. In most cases, tools like pumice stones, emery boards and nail files can be gently used to help remove a layer of toughened skin (usually after soaking the affected area in warm water or Epsom salts to soften the skin).
Which Is the Best Corn Remover?
If you suffer from diabetes or some other condition that leaves you prone to infection, consult with your doctor or health care provider for information and advice before treating a corn. Your physician may recommend an over the counter treatment. At that point, you need only to decide which option suits you best. We carry a wide variety of corn treatment options from top brands to ensure that you can find the product that is just right for you. Once your corn is gone, you can browse through our other foot care products for information and to find solutions for promoting good foot health and for reducing the risk of future issues.
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