Case Study: Jane's Journey with Painful Corns & Callus
Jane is a 36-year-old stay-at-home mother of two. She enjoys staying active with running, yoga, Crossfit - and of course her kids! She presented to our clinic in November 2017, suffering from pain in the balls of her feet. The pain was stopping her from going on as many runs or Crossfit sessions as she’d like, and when she did, she found it much more difficult. Jane came in wanting relief from the discomfort so she could resume her training sessions, Crossfit competitions and her life!
On examination, we saw a number of small, thickened corns spread along the balls of the feet. Both the toenails and skin on the tip of the second toes were thicker than normal. Jane said she noticed the pressure and discomfort from the thickened toenails while she was running.
Callus describes the thickened, harder skin that builds up as a result of friction and pressure on the affected area of skin. This can have a variety of causes from poor foot biomechanics to rubbing from footwear and much more. As the callus grows larger and thicker, for some it can start to cause a great deal of discomfort and pain, while others may not notice it. Podiatrists are able to safely and painlessly remove callus and immediately alleviate the associated pain.
Seed corns are small, circular patches of thickened, dead skin. Like callus, they too arise due to increased pressure on the bottom of the foot, but to more precise focal spots. The result is a cone-shaped corn that extends below the surface of the skin into the foot. Because of their location on the weight-bearing portion of the feet, they can quickly become very uncomfortable and painful until removed by a Podiatrist.
Thickened nails (Onychauxis)
Thickened nails (onychauxis) can have many causes ranging from repeated pressure on the toenails or trauma to medical conditions or infections. In Jane’s case, it was the repetitive pressure on the toes from tight footwear during both exercise and daily life that resulted in the thickening response.
While the thickened nails themselves aren’t painful, they create much more pressure on the healthy skin beneath when in narrow or tight footwear that can be extremely uncomfortable.
Podiatrists are able to use a burr to significantly reduce the size of the nails and improve your comfort.
WHY DO THESE PROBLEMS REOCCUR?
Because the cause of all three of these problems is ultimately excess friction or pressure to the skin, they can continue to reoccur if the cause is not seen to. For some, the solution may be as simple as changing their footwear. For others like Jane, however, it is a result of her foot biomechanics combined with her level of limitless high-impact activity (which she doesn’t want to change) that cause the recurrence of her problems and the need for regular care.
We removed the corns completely (and painlessly). The thick callus was reduced to leave the toes looking and feeling much better. The abnormal toenail thickness was also reduced through trimming, burring and filing to a normal and healthy state.
When Jane touched her foot to the floor, she noticed immediate relief. This is because the painful pressure from the corns was gone. Jane was advised to apply moisturising cream daily and scrub her feet every few days with an emery board or pumice stone. We recommended that she return in seven weeks to remove any new callus, corns, or thickness in the toenails.
When Jane returned, she was very pleased as she hadn’t had any discomfort at all. We increased her time between appointments to 11 weeks which has worked perfectly to stop symptoms developing between appointments.
Since the first treatment, Jane still has not experienced any of her previous pain or discomfort with our regular management over the last 8 months. She’s very happy to be back to her usual active lifestyle and be partaking in Crossfit competitions. She has also started weightlifting! We’re now treating a number of Jane’s friends too, which she recommended not only for the treatment but the good chats too!