When you live with diabetes, you always have to be careful of developing complications. Issues can crop up in many areas of your body, including your feet. Minor annoyances for otherwise healthy individuals—like corns and calluses—can lead to major problems. However, a little vigilance and a solid diabetic foot care plan can go a long ways towards preventing drastic complications.
What are Corns and Calluses?
A corn or callus is simply the result of your skin trying to protect itself against pressure or friction. These hard, thickened layers of skin are most likely to be found on your feet, toes, hands, or fingers and often do not require treatment for healthy individuals.
It is important to easily identify a corn or callus when you are diabetic. A callus is most likely to be found on the sole of your foot, especially under your heel or ball of the foot. It will be observed as a rough, thick patch of skin and may have a waxy appearance. A corn is similar, but smaller with a hard center that is surrounded by inflamed skin. These growths are more prevalent in areas that do not bear weight, like on top, alongside, and between your toes.
How do They Relate to Diabetes?
Given that a callus is merely a pad of thick, hardened skin, it may not seem like much of a threat. The danger lies in the fact that calluses can become quite thick prior to breaking down and becoming open sores (ulcers). If you are living with diabetes, you should readily recognize that an open sore is never good news.
Beyond a corn or callus breaking down on its own, these issues pose a risk for diabetic individuals who attempt to treat them at home. When you try to cut a corn or callus by yourself it can lead to a wound or an infection, neither of which you want to experience. It is also risky to try and remove them with the use of chemical agents, as this can burn your skin.
Can They Be Treated?
The first part of treatment for a corn or callus is to avoid the repetitive action that led to it in the first place. Medical treatments for either condition include:
- Trimming excess skin. Our podiatrists will safely pare down the thickened skin or trim that large corn with the expert use of a scalpel. We cannot state strongly enough to avoid the temptation to attempt this at home. Doing so could lead to infection, which is not a risk you want to take.
- Medication. We may apply a patch that is intended to remove a callus with the use of salicylic acid. Also, an antibiotic ointment can help to decrease the risk of infection.
- Custom orthotics. Specialized inserts can treat an underlying foot deformity that is the root cause of a recurring corn or callus.
- Surgery. This is not a common treatment method, but rare instances may benefit from surgery to correct an alignment of bone that causes friction and leads to your skin condition. We will discuss this together and determine if it is worth it to you.
Are There Prevention Measures I Can Take?
Some of the tricks you can use to prevent getting a corn or callus in the first place include avoiding shoes with pointed toes and high heels, replacing worn shoes, and wearing protective pads over areas that rub against the insides of your footwear. Buy new shoes in the evening, when your feet are at their largest. Also, have your feet professionally measured and choose pairs that fit properly.
A key component to effectively managing your diabetes is to have a robust diabetic foot care plan in place, so that you can decrease the risk of developing corns or calluses. The foot experts at Palm Beach Podiatry can definitely help you with this. We will outline important steps and explain how they benefit you. Contact us today by calling our Boynton Beach, FL office at (561) 734-3100, our Loxahatchee office at (561) 791-7773, or our Fort Pierce office at (772) 468-0089. You can also use our online form to request an appointment at any of our locations.