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How to walk away from corns and calluses

They say that when it comes to heels, the higher, the better. People take notice when a woman walks in her favorite pair, because she instantly looks good, stands taller, and appears more confident. This is why almost every woman owns a pair of high heels. And we have to admit, sometimes we sacrifice comfort over style, no matter how much it hurts to wear them. Wearing high heels may look good, but it also may come with a price. This week, let us talk about what most women can relate to: corns and calluses.

(Manila Bulletin)

(Manila Bulletin)

Corns and calluses are often used interchangeably as they both appear as hard areas of thick and dry skin. There is, however, a difference. Corns, also called clavus, clavi, or heloma, are usually round or circular in shape, may sometimes be soft, and often appear on the top or sides of the toes. Softer corns may appear in between toes. Since corns are cone-shaped, they usually grow and hit the bone or sometimes nerves, which makes the experience more painful.  Calluses or tyloma, on the other hand, can appear almost anywhere on the body, but usually on the hands and at the bottom of the foot. Both are caused by excessive pressure or friction on the particular part of the skin. When succumbed to constant pressure, the skin reacts and protects itself from injury by forming a thick layer of dead skin. This continuous or regular pressure may come from wearing ill-fitting shoes, walking problems, constant foot friction, or foot deformities. Corns and calluses may be common among women, but men, children, athletes, and musicians can have them as well.

Corns and calluses are diagnosed by a podiatrist or dermatologist rather easily, and they are rarely a cause for concern. Usually, corns and calluses go away when friction on the area stops. To treat corns and calluses, the podiatrist or dermatologist usually advises the individual to change their footwear and wear protective shoe inserts or socks to prevent foot friction. Some doctors cut or trim the corn or callus, or perform surgery. Others apply pads, usually with salicylic acid, and you can do so, too, but with the supervision or approval of a doctor. More recent studies have found that oral zinc supplements may work for calluses as well, but further research is needed.

One must always bear in mind that even with shaving or peel, corn and calluses will keep coming back if you don’t eliminate the trigger factor for the friction.  So the best way to eliminate is to minimize formation by doing preventive measures.  You do not have to live with the discomfort and appearance of corns and calluses. To prevent them, you may practice the following:

1. Always wear comfortable-fitting shoes. Try to shop for shoes in the afternoon, when the foot has expanded a bit. When fitting shoes, make sure there is a small space between your tallest toe and the shoe tip.

2. Wear socks, foot pads, or shoe inserts to keep your foot comfortable and avoid friction.

3. Choose what heels to wear. Sometimes, it is a requirement to wear heels at work. Instead of stilettos, you may want to try platform shoes, or footwear with thicker heels, where foot pressure is less. Try to rest your feet on weekends and swap your heels with sneakers, flats, or sandals.

4. Replace or repair your shoes when needed. Comfort is key to lessen foot friction. When the sole is starting to wear off, have them replaced or buy a new pair.

5. Regularly moisturize your hands and feet. Skin that is too dry may cause friction when in contact with other objects.

 As you can see, corns and calluses may go away on their own once skin pressure or friction stops. If you suddenly develop a corn or callus where there is no cause of friction, if the corn or callus bleeds when cut, you have a foot or hip problem that affects your walk, or you have diabetes and form corns and calluses, have yourself checked by a podiatrist or dermatologist right away. Also, always consult a doctor for creams, home remedies, or other treatments that you might have read online, as some are not effective and may do more harm than good. Finally, choose comfort over style. Follow these tips so you can finally walk away from corns and calluses!