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Corns and callus are the painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas of excessive pressure. The medical term for the thickened skin that forms corns and calluses is hyperkeratosis. (A callus refers to a more diffuse, flattened area of thick skin, while a corn is a thick, localized area that usually has a popular, conical or circular shape). This thickening occurs as a natural defense mechanism that strengthens the skin in areas of friction or excessive pressure. Footwear that is too short or too tight or that exerts friction at specific points can also cause skin thickening that leads to corns and calluses. Abnormalities in gait or movement that result in increased pressure to specific areas can also be the cause. Why finger corns develop since they often don’t appear at sites of obvious pressure? Finger calluses may develop in response to using tools, playing musical instruments such as the guitar, or using work equipment that exerts pressure at specific sites.

What are risk factors for corns and calluses?                           

Any condition or activity that results in increased friction over the fingers or toes can lead to the development of corns or calluses. It is more common in people over 65 years of age. Some of these risk factors are abnormalities in anatomy of the feet or toes; abnormalities in gait; bunions; poorly fitting footwear; using equipment, tools, or instruments that exert pressure on specific locations on the fingers; certain occupations, such as farmers or garden workers.

What are symptoms and signs of corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are hardened, thick areas of skin. The area may be dry and may appear to be scaly or flaky. Corns can cause pain or discomfort if they interfere with walking or other activity. Calluses are typically painless.Corns and calluses occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Corns are often painful, even when they are small. Common locations for corns are on the bottom of the foot (sole), over the metatarsal arch (the “ball” of the foot);on the outside of the fifth (small) toe, where it rubs against the shoe; between the fourth and fifth toes. Corns and calluses can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the hands and feet.

Homoeopathic medicines like antimonium crudum and dulcamara have shown good results in most of the cases of corns and warts. Antimonium crudum is useful in treating corns or hard warts found on soles and hands.   While Dulcamara is indicated when warts are present on the palmar surface of hands.

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