Corns and calluses are thick, hardened areas of skin that develop in response to your body's natural defense to repeated pressure or friction. While neither condition presents a long-term or serious health risk, they can be painful, irritating and unattractive.
Identifying a Corn or Callus
Corns and calluses are similar in nature, but differ in size and location. Corns are smaller than calluses and usually have a hard, thickened center surrounded by red, inflamed skin. They typically develop on the tops and sides of your toes and can be painful when touched. Calluses generally develop on your heels and balls of your feet. They vary in size and shape, although almost always larger than corns.
For most people who develop calluses or corns, eliminating the source of pressure is usually enough to make the thickened skin disappear. We recommend the following for treating corns and calluses:
- Wear comfortable shoes and socks. When footwear fits properly, there is less opportunity for friction and rubbing to occur.
- Soak your feet in warm, soapy water to help remove corns and calluses. Rub the thickened skin with a pumice stone to remove toughened layers more easily.
- Keeping your feet moisturized with foot cream or lotion will help improve the quality of your skin and rid your feet from calluses or corns.
When to Seek Care
When corns and calluses don't respond to conservative care, contact our office for a careful evaluation. We can investigate the possible causes of your corn or callus, safely remove the thick, hardened area of skin, and recommend appropriate footwear and treatment, including padding and inserts. Never attempt to cut away a corn or callus on your own, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation. Instead, seek advice for careful removal and proper care.
A bunion is an abnormal, bony prominence that develops on the joint at the base of your big toe. As the big toe joint becomes enlarged, it forces the toe to crowd against your other toes, and the pressure exerted on your big toe joint results in inflammation and pain. Early treatment is necessary to decrease the risk of developing joint deformities.
Bunions develop due to prolonged abnormal pressure or motion on your big toe joint, most often caused by inherited structural defects, poor-fitting shoes, foot injuries, or congenital deformities. Women are generally more prone to bunions because of the shoe types typically worn, such as high-heels and narrow-toed shoes.
Bunion pain can range from mild to severe, often making it difficult to wear shoes and perform normal activities. You should contact our office if you notice the following symptoms:
- An enlarged, visible bulge on your big toe joint
- Restricted movement of your big toe or foot that prevents you from performing normal activities
- Irritation, corns or calluses caused by the overlap of the first and second toes
- Frequent pain, swelling or redness around your big toe joint
Treatment For a Bunion
Treatment for a bunion will vary depending on its severity. Identifying the condition in its early stages is important to avoid surgery, with the main objective of early treatment being to relieve pressure and stop the progression of the deformity. Many times conservative treatments, such as padding, modified footwear or orthotic devices can be highly effective for preventing further growth and reducing the pressure and pain.
We recommend the following for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions:
- Wear comfortable shoes that don't cramp or irritate your toes and avoid high-heeled shoes
- Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain
- Our podiatrists can show you how to apply padding to your foot to place it in its normal position and reduce stress on the bunion
When early treatments fail or the persistent pain associated with your bunion is interfering with your daily activities, a surgical procedure may be recommended as a last resort to realign the toe joint and alleviate the pressure. We can advise you on the best treatment options available to relieve pressure on the bunion and slow the progression of the joint deformity.
Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, can occur anywhere in the skeletal system, and the feet are no exception. Bone spurs are simply overgrowths of bone, which most commonly form where two bones come together. Normally bone spurs in the feet are painless, but when exposed to pressure, they can cause the excess bone to rub against other nerve endings or soft tissues, resulting in pain.
Causes of Bone Spurs in the Feet
When your feet are repeatedly exposed to excessive pressure and stress, a bone spur can form as a result of the body's normal response to repair itself. The following activities and conditions are common causes:
- High-impact activities, such as running
- Excessive weight
- Poor-fitting footwear
- Tightening of the plantar fasciitis due to excessive stress
Because there are no obvious symptoms associated with bone spurs in the feet, diagnosing the disorder can be difficult. Some people experience unbearable pain in particular areas of their foot when exposed to pressure, which prompts them to seek medical care. Other people can go long periods of time without realizing they even have a bone spur. An x-ray can identify a bone spur in your foot, but if it isn't causing you pain, damaging other tissues or restricting your movement, treatment probably won't be necessary.
Identifying the cause of your bone spur, such as poor-fitting shoes or weight gain, is often times enough to reduce the pressure that is causing the pain.
Conservative treatments for bone spurs include:
- Change in footwear
- Weight loss
- Padding or insoles
- Deep tissue massage and stretching
If you're experiencing chronic foot pain, schedule an appointment at our office. We'll carefully examine your feet and evaluate your symptoms to better understand your condition. If you've developed a bone spur, we can work with you to create a treatment plan that best fits your needs and puts an end to your frustrating foot pain.
Athlete's foot is one of the most common fungal infections of the skin and is frequently seen in our office. Whether you've had it or not, it's important to understand how you can avoid and treat this highly contagious infection if you do contract it.
The fungus that causes athlete's foot thrives in damp, moist environments and often grows in warm, humid climates, such as locker rooms, showers and public pools; hence the name "athlete's foot. " This infection can itch and burn causing the skin on your feet and between your toes to crack and peel.
Tips For avoiding Athlete's Foot:
- Keep your feet dry, allowing them to air out as much as possible
- Wear socks that draw moisture away from your feet and change them frequently if you perspire heavily
- Wear light, well-ventilated shoes
- Alternate pairs of shoes, allowing time for your shoes to dry each day
- Always wear waterproof shoes in public areas, such as pools, locker rooms, or communal showers
- Never borrow shoes due to the risk of spreading a fungal infection
A mild case of athlete's foot will generally clear up on its own with over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays. But since re-infection is common due to its contagious nature, many people require prescribed anti-fungal medication to effectively treat the infection. Generally, it's always best to consult with your podiatrist before choosing a treatment.
Mild cases of athlete's foot can turn severe and even cause a serious bacterial infection. If you notice your rash has become increasingly red, swollen and painful or you develop blisters and sores, call our office right away. Athlete's foot left untreated could eventually spread to other body parts and infect other people around you.
With the right treatment, you'll be cured of your athlete's foot in no time, which means the sooner you can enjoy the activities you love without pain and irritation!
How your podiatrist in Denver can help
It’s easy to neglect your feet until you have a problem. Foot problems can happen when you least expect it. They can also be debilitating, keeping you on the couch. It’s important to know what to do when you have one. Dr. Lorry Melnick at Cherry Creek Foot Clinic in Denver, CO wants to share the facts about some common foot problems and their treatment.
If you have a large, tender bump next to your big toe, it’s probably a bunion. Bunions are caused from wearing shoes that are too narrow and crush your toes. Women are much more likely to get bunions because of narrow, pointed shoes and wearing high-heels makes the problems worse by pushing your toes forward.
You can treat the bunion yourself by trying to:
- Place bunion pads inside your shoes
- Tape the bunion to cushion it when you move around
- Purchase shoes with a wide toe box
If you have heel pain, it may be from plantar fasciitis, a condition caused by inflammation of the wide band of tissue running across your heel, called the plantar fascia. You can get plantar fascia if you stand or walk on hard surfaces for long periods of time, or if you are overweight.
You can treat plantar fascia yourself by trying to:
- Rest and put your feet up
- Wear heel supports in your shoes to cushion your heel
- Do arch stretches several times each day
If your toenail is dark and swollen, you may have an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails are caused from cutting your toenails too short or if your toenails curve under naturally.
You can treat an ingrown toenail yourself by trying to:
- Soak your toe in warm water frequently
- Place dental floss underneath your toenail to force it upward
- Spread antibiotic cream on your toe and toenail
- Bandage your toenail
- Wear sandals or open-toe shoes
If you suffer from a common foot problem and home remedies don’t work, help is on the way with just a simple phone call. Dr. Melnick at Cherry Creek Foot Clinic in Denver, CO is standing by, so call today and get some help for your foot problem.
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