I’m A Tradie - Why Do I Have Corns, Calluses & Cracked Heels?
If you work hard on your feet all day only to have painful bumps and lumps develop, then we absolutely understand. It can feel like corns and calluses can come out of nowhere. Sometimes, you may feel them developing, but then they suddenly switch from not causing you any pain to causing immense pain with every step.
We’ll let you in on a little secret - even Podiatrists develop corns and calluses! But why do they occur, what can you do about them, and how about those cracked heels? Today we’ll be giving you the low-down and sharing how you can *almost* instantly get rid of them - and help prevent them from coming back.
Why do corns and calluses develop?
Corns and calluses are a result of excessive pressure applied to certain areas of the feet. Thickening of the skin in response to excess pressure is actually the body’s protective mechanism to prevent the skin from splitting, which would put the body at risk of infection. So if you’re worried that you have a ‘condition’, an ‘infection’ or that something is very wrong - don’t worry. Callus is a natural body process and you shouldn’t be alarmed - especially if you’re not experiencing any pain or other symptoms.
You can read about the specific development of callus here
and corns here
What’s the difference between a corn and callus?
Corns are small, cone-shaped patches of hard skin that appear circular on the outside, often giving them a darker colour than the healthy surrounding skin. They’re more ‘defined’, and don’t contain any blood vessels or nerves. Comparatively, a callus can span small or large areas, often covering the entire heel area.
And what about cracked heels?
Before heels become ‘cracked’, they’ll usually just be heavily callused heels. After becoming very dry and continuing to be under excess pressure, cracks will form. When the hard, dead skin cracks, there is a risk that they healthy underlying skin will crack too. This can cause bleeding and leave you vulnerable to infection. You can read more about cracked heels here
So what can we do about these problems?
The first step is to remove the corns, reduce the callus, and reduce the skin at the heels that has cracked. This must be done carefully, trying to do this yourself can cause bleeding, which can put you at risk of infection - especially if you have diabetes or have problems with healing.
Your Podiatrist will be able to take care of your corns and calluses in one appointment, to reduce your hard skin back to a manageable level. Where your corns or calluses are causing you pain, you should feel some immediate relief.
The next step is to help prevent them from coming back - or at least reduce the rate at which they do. In order to do this we need to understand why these areas of your feet are being exposed to high amounts of pressure
- Is it your shoes?
- Is it your foot posture?
- Is it your gait?
More often than not, we’ll be able to help reduce their incidence - or prevent them from returning. We often use orthotics to do this while checking that you have the right fitting shoes for your feet. We’ll recommend some foot creams or balms too.