Hard skin can form anywhere on skin where a joint is being rubbed or getting a lot of pressure. It’s a protective measure which enables us to walk around barefoot without sharp objects piercing our skin. But if too much callus builds up in one area it can become very uncomfortable.
Corn and callus mostly form due to mechanical stress on the skin, sometimes hard skin is caused by dry skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. There are also some hereditary skin conditions which can cause corn and callus formation on your feet.
Podiatrists can remove corns and calluses by expertly paring away the hard skin and then pad the area to remove the stress on the skin, the podiatrist will also talk to you about styles of footwear to help prevent a recurrence of the corn or callus. Given sufficient space in footwear we can often craft an orthotic, for toes this would be a silicone orthosis, and for corns on the sole of your foot it would be an orthotic insole.
Sometimes it’s simply the wrong choice of footwear, or perhaps you have a foot type which is difficult to fit. This is especially true of hard skin and corns on toes.
It is always worth investing in at least one pair of really well-fitting shoes, make sure there is at least half the width of your thumb of free space in front of your longest toe when you stand up in the shoes, try to get the shape of the shoe to match your toes, and ensure you can wiggle your toes.
If you have one foot larger than the other always fit the larger foot, a shoe with a fastening this will allow you to do the shoe up on the smaller foot a bit tighter or place an insole inside to take up some space. For feet of vastly different sizes there are makes of shoe which will supply different sizes for a modest extra fee. Alternatively you could opt for bespoke shoes, Conkers in Totnes is a local shoemaker who do this, they come in an amazing range of colours and last for years and are made to the shape of your foot.
Thankfully it’s much easier to buy well-fitting shoes these days, if you have corns on toes you usually just need to adjust your footwear. Bunions, hammered or clawed toes make finding shoes to fit a bit tricky, there are makes of shoe which specialise in shoes for problem feet. Cala and Sole Bliss make pretty shoes for ladies with bunions, Heavenly Feet, Hotter and The Wider Fit Shoe Company make shoes for wide feet that need extra depth in the toe box and Cosyfeet specialise in shoes for swollen feet.
The way you walk will influence how your feet function when they hit the ground, we can look at your foot function to see if there is anything we can do. Treatment may include mobilisation of a stiff joint, stretching out or strengthening a muscle or muscle group or orthoses in your shoes.
To see one of our podiatrists please call us on 01803 521880.