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Health Information

Callus. Corn

Summary/Definition

Callus is a pathological condition in which the stratum corneum of the skin thickens as a result of repeated friction or pressure on the affected area. Calluses are most commonly found on the feet, palms, fingers and toes. A hard corn, also known as a “spur”, is an inverted cone where the round base sits on the skin and the tip points inwards. This is due to localized hyperkeratosis, and pressure on such a callus causes pain and sometimes inflammation. Like calluses, hard corns are most commonly found on the soles and toes. 

Symptoms 

Calluses develop in areas of increased stress and may disappear naturally when the pressure on the skin is removed. Orthopaedic aspects should also be considered, such as increased sensitivity to pressure due to skin atrophy caused by age-related changes or foot deformities caused by abnormal loads. 

There are two types of corns: hard and soft. Hard corns are usually found on the top of the toes or soles and have a smooth surface. When the top layer of the corn is removed, the core or spike, which is the densest part of the corn, becomes visible. If the rod penetrates deeply and reaches the nerve endings, it can cause discomfort and stabbing pain. Soft corns form between the toes, usually as a result of excessive sweating. They are soft, moist and white. 

Diagnostics 

Corns cannot be seen with the naked eye, but it is important to distinguish them from calluses and warts. Corns and calluses are caused by pressure on the skin, while warts are an infectious disease caused by the human papilloma virus. When the upper layer of the skin is removed, pitting (petechial) hemorrhages, papillary tubercles may be observed at the site of a hard corn lesion and there are no fingerprints on the affected area. Fingerprint tears are observed on protruding surfaces and in the affected areas. There is a simple way to distinguish warts from hard corns. If you try to move the wart to the side, you will feel pain; with a hard corn, you will feel pain when you press on the centre of the affected area. 

Treatment and course of the disease

If the pressure or friction on the skin is removed, the calluses that have formed can dissolve naturally. You can also use special soft plasters or consider having the thickened skin removed. 

Hard corns may also disappear if the cause of the injury is removed. Corrective footwear or special insoles and pads can be used, but it should be recognized that it is difficult to achieve a complete cure with this method. Careful and regular application of salicylic acid or dichloroacetic acid is also an effective method. In the case of soft calluses, the protruding “spur” can be removed and a solution to soften the callus or a bandage containing 40% salicylic acid can be applied. 

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