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Coping with corns and calluses

Due to the work demands of the professional truck driver, corns and calluses can become a significant issue. Although in most cases they are not a serious medical condition, corns and calluses can become very irritating and painful, making life...


Due to the work demands of the professional truck driver, corns and calluses can become a significant issue. Although in most cases they are not a serious medical condition, corns and calluses can become very irritating and painful, making life on the road uncomfortable.

Corns and calluses are hard, thickened areas of skin which result from repetitive friction and/or pressure. The most common locations to develop them are on the hands and feet. Symptoms associated with corns and calluses include tenderness and pain under the skin, a hardened raised bump, a rough area of skin or flaky dry skin.

Although corns and calluses are similar in appearance, there are distinct differences between them. Corns are smaller and have a hard centre, surrounded by an area of inflammation. Also, corns tend to occur on areas of skin that do not bear weight such as the top or sides of your toes. Corns also tend to cause pain when pressure is applied to them.

Calluses, on the other hand, tend to be much larger and develop on the soles of the feet and other areas that are subject to constant pressure and friction.

The most common cause of corns and calluses is wearing improperly-fitting footwear.

Loose-fitting shoes may cause your feet to constantly rub against the shoe. Similarly, tight-fitting shoes can cause compression of the foot.

Another common cause is wearing shoes and sandals without socks. This can cause excess friction on the feet, which can in turn lead to irritation.  

For truck drivers, a common location for calluses is on the palms of the hands or fingers. This is most commonly due to gripping the steering wheel for long periods of time and constantly shifting gears. Flatbed truckers tend to develop calluses on their hands caused by repeated pressure from securing and tarping loads.

In the majority of cases, corns and calluses are simply a nuisance. However, conditions such as diabetes or other circulatory illnesses can lead to complications. Thus, it is important to seek medical attention if you are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions.

The treatment for calluses and corns is really quite simple. In most cases, avoiding the repetitive actions that caused them to develop will cause them to heal. However, if a corn or callus persists or causes significant discomfort, medical treatment may be required. The first form of treatment involves your doctor trimming the thickened skin with a scalpel.

At this time, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection. Another commonly used treatment is salicylic acid. This is the active medication found in common over-the-counter patches.

Custom-made foot orthotics or shoe inserts may be prescribed by your doctor in order to correct underlying foot deformities. In very rare cases, surgery is required to correct the alignment of the bones causing the excess pressure.

As I always say, prevention is the best treatment. Wearing properly fitting shoes is a good place to start. Good quality shoes will provide your foot with the proper support and alignment.

Keep in mind that if you can’t move your toes freely then the shoes or boots are probably too tight.

Also, wearing gloves with padding can significantly reduce your chances of developing corns and calluses on your hands. Until next month, drive safely!


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