As we celebrate National Walking Month this May, we take a look at the effects walking can have on our feet, and how we can take care of them.
Walking in general is very good for you. It improves your cardiovascular health, circulation and muscle tone. However, your feet take the full brunt of “pounding the pavement”,
acting as your natural shock absorbers and over the course of a day can take the cumulative force of 200 tons!
So, there are many factors which we must consider when our feet are just not feeling fit. Our weight, our shoes and even how hydrated we are can play a big part in looking after those toes.
Today we cover two of the most common problems we experience with walking or running – Corns and Calluses.
Firstly – What are corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are the body’s way of protecting its outer layer, so they are typically found in areas of the feet that sustain pressure or friction (normally from ill-fitting shoes). They can also affect those with foot abnormalities such as hammer toe or club foot.
Although slightly different both corns and calluses are thick (dry) skin, which forms in different areas of the feet.
What’s the difference between a corn and callus?
A corn is a lump of hard skin which forms on the bony area of your foot, generally they occur on the top or/and side of the toes but can also occur on the plantar surface of the feet. Corns can be painful when pressed.
A callus is a build up of hard skin which forms on the bottom/underside of the foot (normally around the high pressure points). Calluses are not usually painful but can become sore if they become thick and crack.
People who suffer from other foot deformities such as bunions, and hammertoe are more at risk of hardened skin, however corns and calluses are also seen on hard working hands.
How do I prevent them?
Looking after your feet is really important, they are designed to take you where you need to be. If you fail to maintain your feet then your feet will fail to maintain your stride!
To prevent many problems arising with your feet you must –
- Wear correctly fitted shoes.
- Rotate your shoes (try to get yourself different comfy shoes, like running trainers, pumps, boots, etc).
- Wear cushioned and supportive socks.
- Soak your feet regularly
- Use a pumice stone to clear dead skin
- Moisturise, especially after bathing
How do I remove them?
Never try and remove old corns or calluses by yourself! You can cause an infection to occur and that can prevent the corn or callus from being removed quickly. Some people also experience them coming back thicker and angrier if treated at home.
We also find a lot of patients initially turn to corn plasters to help treat their corns. However, it is something we advise against if you’re diabetic due to its caustic reaction to your healthy skin and tissue.
If you are concerned, get in contact with us, your local foot specialist. We can treat your complaint and offer continued aftercare and advice.
Do I have to have them removed?
You may be okay with them but in time they will start to cause you more structural problems. Removal and prevention is always best practise.
Reasons for removal are –
- To alleviate pain.
- Prevent muscle/ligament strains caused by pressure build up areas.
- To prevent ulceration of the areas if the corns or callus are left to get too large/deep (particularly important in Diabetic or other high risk patients).
- Prevention of fissures/cracking and blistering beneath.
- Increased mobility in disabled patients and prevention of falls with the elderly.
- Cosmetic purposes.
Blisters are very common and if a blister recurs time after time in the same area it will eventually harden.
If blisters form on your feet, act upon this by –
- Changing your shoes
- Covering the blister
- Use padding in shoes you know rub (this will help break them in while protecting your feet)
- Stopping and taking a rest during long walks
- Avoid popping or draining your blister (this can result in hardening of the skin and infection).
If you are concerned with any sore points on your feet or would like to have a corn or callus removed then visit us today where one of our qualified podiatrists can examine the affected area and recommend appropriate treatment.
We truly pride ourselves on what we’ve been able to achieve for our customers over the past 20 years and continue to improve on what we do.
We offer same day appointments at no extra cost, in cases where the foot pain or problem is too severe to wait.