Corns and Calluses are a hard, thick layer of skin that develops on the feet and hands due to excessive friction or pressure. They’re a problem experienced by many people and can cause discomfort and pain when you walk or apply pressure on them. These growths are similar in the way they form but there’s a slight difference between the two, which we will explore.
Corns and Calluses: Know the Difference
The difference between corns and calluses lies in where they form, their size, and the shape the growths take.
Corns are hard and thick circular small layers of skin that have a definite corn-shaped core that points inwards. A hallmark symptom of these growths is that they give off a thorn-like prick when you walk or apply pressure on them. They usually form between the toes although they can occur on top of the toe and are smaller than calluses.
Calluses form on the feet when you apply pressure on the foot and take a shape according to the contour of the area. They’re hard, rough areas of skin that turn yellow or pale in color.
Calluses usually develop on the ball or heel of the foot. They can form on the palm of the hand or on the knuckles. These particular growths are larger than corns. Calluses do not have a well-defined shape like corns, are less sensitive to touch than the skin around the surrounding area, and only become sore or painful when you allow them to grow in size.
Symptoms of corns and calluses include a thick rough skin and a raised hard bump that can be painful when you press it. Standing and walking on them may cause pain and discomfort.
Causes: How They Develop
The main cause of corns and calluses is extreme friction or pressure on the skin of the feet or hands while we walk, run, do manual work using hand held tools or other activities. Below are some of the things that cause corns and calluses.
Wearing the Wrong Type of Shoes
Wearing the wrong type of shoes including tight fitting shoes, loose shoes, high heels or any footwear that does not fit properly is all you need to develop calluses and corns on your feet.
Tight-fitting shoes will increase the friction between your feet and the lining of the shoes as you walk or run thereby causing calluses and corns.
Wearing oversized shoes is a sure way of developing calluses or corns. With lose footwear, your feet will slide and rub on the inner side and experience friction.
High heels put pressure on a particular point of your foot even when you’re standing. They have a tendency of squeezing the toes and put pressure on the heels.
Loose Seam or Stitch
Sometimes a seam or stitch inside the shoe can rub against your foot when you walk and cause a callus.
Wearing Shoes without Socks
When not wearing socks, you leave enough space for friction between your feet and shoes. The same is true if you wear socks that do not fit properly and your feet slide and rub in the socks, which would in turn rub against the shoes. This will most likely create the friction needed to cause calluses.
Walking without Shoes
When you walk barefoot on a rough surface, the skin on your soles hardens as a way of protecting itself from further injury due to the pressure on the feet. This is why corns and calluses develop on the underfoot.
Using Tools and Equipment
People use tools in their daily activities, in the work place, in the home, for leisure and a host of other activities. These handheld tools and equipment sometimes put pressure on the hands. This in turn leads to friction on the soft palms of your hands and causes corns or calluses to develop.
Feet that sweat excessively will cause moisture to accumulate in the shoes and soften, stretch, and separate the skin’s protective layer leading to blisters and calluses. Remaining in a standing position for long will put pressure on the feet and may cause calluses. Some people also certain types of foot problems that put them at higher risks of developing corns and calluses. Below is a list of factors that might make your more predisposed to developing these growths on your feet or hands.
Failing to Wear Protective Hand Gear
Whether you use hand tools on occasion or as part of your daily routine, it’s important to wear gloves all the time. Not doing so exposes your palms to excessive friction, which as we know is a major precursor to calluses.
A bunion is an abnormal bump on the feet. It usually forms under the big toe just at the joint. The bump can cause friction when your wear shoes and lead to corns.
A hammertoe is an abnormal condition that causes one of the toes on your foot to curl. The affected toe curls like a claw and rubs against other toes to cause friction. If you have this deformity, it increases chances of developing foot corns.
Certain foot conditions like a bone spur, can cause rubbing inside the shoe and cause corns on your toes.
Home Remedies for Corns and Calluses
Normally, corns and calluses will heal on their own with time. To speed up healing, there are several home remedies you can try.
Here are 10 quick ways to get rid of corns and calluses from feet or hands:
Using the Pumice Stone
Rubbing the corn and surrounding area with a pumice stone is an effective way to treat it. The pumice stone removes dead, hardened skin, reduces pain and speeds up healing. By following the simple steps below, you can use this stone and speed up recovery time.
- Soak your feet in hot water for 10 minutes before you go to bed. The hot water will soften the hard/dead skin, making it easier to shed.
- Gently rub the pumice stone across the corn for three to five minutes then pat dry.
- Use a cotton ball dipped in castor oil, tape it on the corn and leave it overnight.
- Remove the cotton ball the next morning and apply castor oil on the corn several times during the day.
- Repeat the above steps for several days until the corn heals.
Applying white vinegar on the feet has proved to be an excellent way of treating corns on the feet. The vinegar has a high acidity level to help softens the skin while the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties protect the skin from infection.
You can treat corns with white vinegar in the following ways:
- Mix one part of white vinegar with three parts water before you go to bed.
- Use a cotton ball to dab this mixture onto the corn.
- Cover the corn with the cotton ball, secure with adhesive tape and leave overnight.
- Remove the cotton ball and rub the thick skin on the corn. Using an emery board or pumice stone is the best way to remove the corn growth gently.
- Apply olive or coconut oil to moisturize the area around the corn. Repeat this method daily until the corn heals.
- If your corns are sore and painful, use vinegar mixed with onions.
- Place an onion in a bowl, pour vinegar in it and leave to soak for the whole day.
- Remove the onion before you go to bed and cut it into two halves or thick pieces.
- Take one slice of onion and place it over the corn then wrap a bandage over it and leave overnight.
- Remove the bandage in the morning and gently rub off the corn with the help of a pumice stone. Repeat the process daily if necessary.
- In most cases, four to five days are all you need to get rid of corns.
Apply Baking Soda
Baking soda will help get rid of dead skin hence speed up healing on a corn or callus growth. It’s a natural exfoliating agent with anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to protect your skin from infection.
You can apply the treatment in the following way:
- Add some baking soda (1-3 tablespoons) in warm water. Pour the mixture in a basin and submerge your feet for 10-15 minutes.
- Rub the corn with something abrasive so that dead skin can fall off and speed up the healing process.
- Repeat the above steps daily until the corn dries and heals.
- Another way is to mix one tablespoon of baking soda, lemon juice and water and make a paste.
- The paste should be applied directly on the affected area, cover with a bandage and leave overnight.
- Remove the bandage and rinse the paste with lukewarm water then use the pumice stone to exfoliate gently.
- Repeat until the corn heals.
Lemon is another good remedy you can use in the home to treat and cure corns. The hardened skin on the corn will soften and eventually fall off due to the effect of citric acid in the lemon.
You should apply it as follow:
- Apply lemon juice three times daily on the corn/callus. Ensure to let the juice dry off by itself before rinsing your feet. This allows it to work its way through the skin.
- Repeat daily until you heal.
- Take about two clove pieces then mix them with lemon juice (1-tablespoon should be enough). Let them soak in the juice for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the cloves from the lemon juice. Now, rub this mixture on the corn then let the liquid dry off before washing your feet.
- Apply the lemon juice again and repeat several times daily until you get the desired result.
- Place a slice of lemon peel over your corn and secure with a bandage.
- Wear a cotton sock over the bandage and leave overnight.
- Remove the socks and bandage in the morning, and wash the affected area.
- Repeat this process daily until the corn disappears.
- Mix one tablespoon of brewer yeast with a small quantity of lemon juice to make a paste.
- Take a liberal amount of paste then smudge it on the corn. Make sure to cover the treated area with a bandage. Wait until the next morning before removing the dressing.
- Repeat daily every day before going to bed until the corn heals.