Corns And Calluses
Calluses are found mostly on the hands or the feet and consist of areas of thickened skin. They form when the skin in the affected area is repeatedly pressed upon or folded for long periods of time; they usually tend to affect the thickened skin on the palms and the feet but can arise on the skin in any part of the body. Hardened areas of skin on the feet are called corns; these affect only the feet and especially the folds of skin around the toes. Walking on corn affected feet may be painful and the corns as a rule are minute, sensitive and tender to the touch.
The hardening of the skin under continuous pressure or repeated injury in a small area causes the formation of both corns and calluses. The affected area is hardened in response to the repeated stimuli and serves as a protection from further injury or irritation.
Tight fitting footwear especially high heels tends to generate the formation of corns on the feet, calluses on the other hand form from working with the hands while digging etc. or from continuous and long term use of a musical instrument, a guitar player’s fingertips are a good example. Warts which superficially resemble calluses are often mistaken for the same, while warts also come up as hardened areas on the skin-their mode of origin is different from the way in which calluses are formed.
Corn formation in the body is probably due to an acid-alkali imbalance within the body, as such an internal situation increases the susceptibility to corn development, dietary regimen change is the most effective way to address this issue and a change in the diet most contain fresh and raw alkalizing foods in abundant quantities. Some of the types of food that are essential include fresh fruits and vegetables-including of course sour-tasting fruits like lemons and other citruses.
These foods tend to increase the oxidization of alkali and ash within the body of the person. On the other hand foods such as meats and dairy products, and cereals including the majority of grains tend to form acids within the body and can predispose the body to corns. Foods that abound in alkalizing minerals include vegetables such as the spinach, the cucumber and the Jerusalem artichoke, fruits such as cherries and raspberries are also an excellent way to beat corn formation in the body. Including two to three apples every day in the diet is another good option.
To fulfill the body’s requirement for proteins, it is recommended that plant foods such as legumes and soy bean products like tofu be included instead of animal protein sources, the use of potatoes is also an excellent option in this regard. These vegetables are an excellent substitute to the acid-forming animal products such as meats and dairy products. Alkali forming plant products also exist, the millet and the buckwheat are two such grains.
Diets should exclude all processed foods such as white flour and saturated fats, including fried foods from fast food joints and other oily dishes. The intake of sugars, all alcohol, excess of red meat, beverages such as coffee, all chocolates and soft drinks must be restricted as much as possible.
Supplements and herbs
To heal the skin tissues and to soften them up, topical supplements of the vitamin E can be directly applied onto the corns and calluses along the affected region of the body.
The herbal remedies given below will help in the reduction of the corns and increase the rate at which the skin is healed.
Topical application of the milky juice of dandelion or the greater celandine on the corn is recommended as an external measure-these herbal remedies are not for consumption. Till such times as the corn shows signs of loosening off, the applications must be repeated a few times everyday, it may take from a week or two weeks of continuous applications to see results.
The elasticity of the skin and its suppleness can be restored through external applications of the horsetail tincture in concentrated form; this herbal remedy can also be consumed if taken diluted using water or some ingestible liquid. Dosage of the diluted herbal supplement can be half to a single tsp. of the tincture thrice everyday till such times as positive results are observed.
The affected area can also be treated by applications of an herbal cream or some poultice two times everyday. Apply about five drops of the tea tree oil onto affected feet after soaking them for five minutes in warm water. In addition you can soak feet and dry them well so as to massage the calloused skin using an herbal mixture of the tea tree oil and a single tbsp. either of the almond oil or the olive oil for maximum effect.
In addition to using conventional drugs and herbs and supplements, you may also treat corns/ calluses by applying lotions and essential oils to the affected areas. Applying these will make the calluses moist and, thereby, making them soft. Applying a blend of thick good foot lotion purchased from any store, 10 drops of Roman chamomile oil and peppermint oil each to the calluses/ corns is an effective way to treat them. While Roman chamomile oil helps to lessen tension, soreness and uneasiness, peppermint oil is useful for lessening the redness as well as inflammation.
In case any callus has developed into a corn, treat it by immersing and dampening it with castor oil till it is softened. Make use of a cotton swab to apply one or two drops of castor oil to the corn and cover the area using an adhesive pad, which is available at your neighborhood pharmacy. In case a corn has developed on the toe, you may cover the area using a non-medicated circular pad having a hole in the center and hold it in place with an adhesive tape. While you are doing this job, it is advisable that you put on old socks, as castor oil may leave a stain.
Different factors are involved in selecting the right homeopathic remedy for treating corns/ calluses. These factors include the location of the corn, the color as well as the texture of the affected skin, whether or not there is inflammation and the extent of sensitivity of the skin. There are a number of homeopathic remedies for corns/ calluses and they include:
- Antimonium crudum
- Ferrum picricum
- Nat. mur.
- Ran. Scleratus
Additional things you may do
Many a times, it is possible to prevent the occurrence of calluses and corns. All you need to do is just lessen or eliminate the conditions that resulted in augmented pressure at certain points on your hand and feet. There are several preventive measures and some of them are discussed below.
Wash your feet carefully everyday to minimize the chances of developing the condition and ensure that you walk barefoot whenever possible each day either indoors or on a grassy lawn. To preclude the formation of corns and calluses on the feet, make sure that the footwear you use is comfortable and has proper insoles which are easy on the feet.
It is advisable that you always wear shoes that fit your feet well and are comfortable. The main objective of using such shoes is to put off the shoes from creating pressure outwardly to the fifth toe or compressing the gap between the fourth and the fifth toes to avoid occurrence of corns in these places.
Another way to prevent calluses and corns is to cushion the areas that are likely to be affected. The drugstores sell several different types of padding and you may purchase the ones that best suit your requirements to use as cushions between the toes.
For instance moleskin or foam pads are used to cover the areas where corns develop, while using foam pads having holes in the middle (similar to bagels or donuts) on corns help to redistribute the pressure around the affected places, rather than putting the pressure on the corns. You may use padded insoles to cushion your feet and ease the mechanical pressure.
Several different types of medicated products may be employed to treat calluses and corns with a view to chemically reduce the dense, dead skin. Most of these products usually have a common active constituent – salicylic acid, the element that is used in non-prescription products meant for eliminating warts.
Salicylic acid possesses keratolytic attributes, denoting that it has the aptitude to dissolve keratin (protein) that comprises the corn as well as the thickened layer of dead skin that covers the corns. These medicated products are used according to the instructions on the product label. They are not only gentle, but also safe for majority of the people. Treatments using salicylic acid are available in various forms, counting applications, pads, drops, and plasters.
Each and every one of the treatments discussed above will change the skin surface on the affected area to white enabling you to spruce or remove the dead tissue, thereby making the corn stick out and be less hurting.
Generally, it is suggested that people having diabetes should not use salicylic acid. In addition, people having a delicate skin or suffering from poor circulation should not use salicylic acid primarily owing to the concern regarding the manner in which the skin is able to heal. Using salicylic acid in such conditions may potentially result in formation of ulcers on the surface of the skin. Therefore, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider, who will determine whether using salicylic acid is safe for your skin.
Here is a word of caution: never try to cut off or shave calluses or corns at home. Do so may result in infections around the tissue and these may be potentially hazardous. Any type of surgery to trim or remove calluses or corns should only be performed by a qualified healthcare professional, preferably a podiatrist. In some cases, the healthcare professional may ask you to take antibiotics for calluses or corns that may already be infected.
Calluses are generally less problematic compared to corns. The funnel-like makeup of corns intensifies and creates maximum pressure on a specific point, which not only results in pain, but also poses a threat of damaging the tissue surrounding it and formation of ulcers. Although some people claim that these can be treated using home remedies, most experts are of the view that treating corns may not be as easy as it may appear to be.
However, preventing the occurrence of corns is comparative much easier. Besides treating calluses and corns with non-prescription products and sanding using a pumice stone for relief from them, it is suggested that you try employing a number of the home remedies discussed below.
As dead tissues comprise most part of calluses and corns, you will get some ease if your rubbing the affected area using a pumice stone will prove to be effectual in providing relief from the symptoms. Before you rub the affected areas with a pumice stone, it is important that you immerse your feet in warm water for some time. It is said that immersing your feet in a solution of warm water and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is useful in getting rid of the hard skin and dead tissues. Ideally, you need to add roughly three tablespoons of baking soda to a tub full of warm water and soak your feet in it.
Alternatively, you may also massage your feet using a paste prepared with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and water. This is considered to be among the most used home remedies to remove calluses. In addition, you may also dab some amount of cornstarch in the spaces between the toes to get rid of the moisture there. It is essential to keep your toes dry, as any moisture present in between the toes may result in infections and deteriorate the calluses or corns further. Cornstarch is effective in absorbing sweat and, thereby, keeping the skin waterless.
Vinegar is another effective home remedy for corns. Use a cotton ball to massage some amount of vinegar on the areas affected by corns. Let the vinegar remain overnight and scrub the skin on the following morning. You will notice that the corn has become softer.
The peel of pineapple encloses particular enzymes that aid in making calluses and corns softer and facilitate their removal from the skin. Put a little portion of pineapple peel on top of the affected area and cover it with a clean cloth. Continue this every night for about a week. In addition, applying pineapple juice to the calluses and corns will also prove to be beneficial.
Always remember that majority of the home remedies discussed here are actually not very dependable, because there is very scant scientific evidence to corroborate any claims regarding their effectiveness. Hence, it is advisable that you check with your physician or healthcare provider to determine an effectual plant to deal with the problems associated with calluses and corns.
You may also adopt a number of preventive measures and some of them are discussed below.
Constant pressure as well as friction is the main reason for development of corns. Hence, it is vital to identify the reason behind the development of corns and initiate steps to do away with them before your condition deteriorates further.
Ensure that your toenails are always short. When the toenail becomes extremely long, it may push the toe joint upwards and create pressure against the shoe, thereby resulting in the development of a corn. Cut off the toenails right across to ensure that they do not dig into the toes. In addition, it is suggested that you file your toenails to make their edges smooth.
In case you suspect that a corn may be developing, immerse your feet in a solution of Epsom salts and warm water. Subsequently, apply a good moisturizer to the area and wrap your foot using a plastic bag. Remove the bag after about an hour and gently rub the potential corn with a pumice stone. Doing this regularly for a few days will aid in putting off the development of the corn – in fact, it will prevent it from becoming hard.
You should be careful not to cut the calluses or corns with any tool. In fact, lots of tools are available for this purpose, but it is advised that you should never use them, as they may result in injuries, blood loss and even infections.
In order to alleviate the irritation in the areas between your toes, place small pieces of cotton to keep the toes separated. It is advisable that you also apply a little petroleum jelly to the affected areas of the foot that are predisposed to undergo friction. You should particularly do this when you require walking a lot. Also ensure that you wash your feet properly every day and always keep them dry. You may try applying some talcum powder to your feet with a view to get rid of the moisture.
Treating corns does not require following any particular diet, because no diet actually helps to cure them. Nevertheless, good dietary habits are beneficial at all times, because they facilitate the body in repairing itself appropriately. It is also advisable that you pursue some important dietary instructions, because the diet you take is always important for sustaining a perfect body weight. This assumes importance owing to the fact that mostly calluses and corns develop due to frequent extreme pressure as well as friction applied to any specific area of the foot.
It is important to note that obesity is very much responsible for increasing the quantity of pressure on foot areas like the soles and toes. In fact, the soles and toes are most inclined to be pressurized due to excessive body weight. Therefore, incorporating some changes in your diet to reduce your body weight will definitely help to deal with the problems related to calluses and corns. Moreover, taking a balanced diet also makes optimal healing possible.
Other beneficial herbs