CORN OR CALLUS
A corn is a painful thickening (bump) of the outer skin layer, usually over bony areas such as toe joints. A callus is a painless thickening of skin caused by repeated pressure or irritation. Corns appear on toe joints and the skin between toes; calluses appear on any part of the body--especially the hands, feet, or knees -- that endures repeated pressure or irritation. Corns and calluses can affect both sexes, all ages, except infants.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSCorn: A small, painful, raised bump on the side or over the joint of a toe. Corns are usually 3mm to 10mm in diameter and have a hard center.
Callus: A rough, thickened area of skin that appears after repeated pressure or irritation.
Corns and calluses form to protect a skin area from injury caused by repeated irritation (rubbing or squeezing). Pressure causes cells in the irritated area to grow at a faster rate, leading to overgrowth.
RISK FACTORSShoes that fit poorly.
Activities that involve pressure on the hands or knees, such as carpentry, writing, or guitar playing.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your child should not wear shoes that fit poorly.
Your child should avoid activities that create constant pressure on specific skin areas.
When possible, the child should wear protective gear, such as gloves or knee pads.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor of medicine or podiatrist.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSBack, hip, knee, or ankle pain caused by a change in one's gait due to severe discomfort.
Usually curable if the underlying cause can be removed. Allow 3 weeks for recovery. Recurrence is likely--even with treatment -- if the cause is not removed.
Remove the source of pressure, if possible. Discard ill-fitting shoes.
Use corn and callus pads on your child's feet to reduce pressure on irritated areas.
Peel or rub the thickened area with a pumice stone to remove it. Don't cut it with a razor. Soak the area in warm water to soften it before peeling.
Ask the shoe repairman to sew a metatarsal bar onto your child's shoe to use while a corn is healing.
Avoid surgery. It does not remove the cause. Post-surgical scarring is painful and may complicate healing.
MEDICATIONAfter peeling the upper layers of the child's corn once or twice a day, apply ointment. Use a non-prescription 5% or 10% salicylic ointment. Cover with adhesive tape.
Your doctor may inject your child's corn or callus with cortisone medicine to suppress inflammation or pain.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child can resume normal activities as soon as symptoms improve.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has corns or calluses that persist despite self-treatment.
Any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pain, heat, or tenderness, develop around a corn or callus.