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Blisters, Corns, Calluses, and Your Skin

Three of the more common skin conditions that people experience are blisters, corns, and calluses. 

  • Blisters: A blister is a shell on the skin surface that often contains a clear liquid. Blisters can form when the skin is repeatedly rubbed; for instance, when your shoes rub the same spot on your foot, when you wear shoes that don't fit properly, or when you wear shoes without socks.
  • Corn: A corn is a build-up of hard skin near a bony area of a toe or between toes. Corns may be caused by pressure from shoes that rub against the toes or cause friction between the toes.
  • Callus: A callus is a build-up of hard skin, usually on the underside of the foot. Calluses are caused by an uneven distribution of weight, generally on the bottom of the forefoot or heel. Calluses also can be caused by improperly fitting shoes or by a skin abnormality. It's normal to have some calluses on the soles of your feet.

How Are These Skin Conditions Treated?

Blisters

The skin covering the blister helps protect it from infection. Your health care provider may recommend you "pop" the blister with a sterile needle to allow the skin to re-attach. However, don't cut the skin away unless it is already torn and drying out. Keep the blister clean. Gently wash the area with mild soap and water or a cleansing towel and then apply antibacterial cream to the blister. Cover it with gauze and secure it with hypoallergenic tape to help protect the skin and prevent infection. Change the dressing at least once a day and wear different shoes until the blister heals. Take the bandage off at night so that it can dry out. 

Corns

Don't try to cut the corn or remove it with a sharp object. After you take a bath or shower, while your skin is still soft, use a pumice stone or an emery board to smooth and gently remove the build-up of tissue. Move the emery board or pumice stone in one direction only. You can also use cushioned or medicated pads.

Calluses

Don't try to cut the callus or remove it with a sharp object. After your bath or shower, use a pumice stone to gently remove the build-up of tissue. You can also use cushioned pads and insoles. Your health care provider may prescribe medications to soften the calluses.

How Can These Skin Conditions Be Prevented?

To prevent blisters, corns, or calluses on the skin:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly and comfortably
  • Wear socks with shoes
  • Use foot powder to help keep your feet dry
  • Wear gloves when you are doing manual labor or working with your hands

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on July 06, 2012

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