Corns, Callous and Cracked Skin
Corns (heloma) and Callous (hyperkeratosis) are thickened layers of skin caused by repeated pressure or friction. The hard callous is your body's protective reaction. For example farmers or rowers get calloused hands that prevent them from getting blisters.
A callous is a simple thickening of the top layer of skin, which does not have any blood or nerve supply, so is sometimes referred to as 'dead' skin (pictured to the right). Treatment for callouses is to remove it using a scalpel blade by your podiatrist. Do not attempt to do this yourself. Some callouses can be prevented by reducing the pressure to the area, and other times it requires on-going care.
A corn is similar to callous formation in regards to causes. However corns can be far more painful because the skin cells are very tightly packed together often in a 'cone' shape making it feel like a small stone. Corns can form under weight-bearing areas and in between your toes. Corns can vary in size and sometimes present as clusters (many in one area). Your podiatrist can remove the corns effectively, and advice on preventative measures if possible.
Cracked skin is either due to dry skin or thickly formed callous. Cracked skin can be painful especially if they crack too deep making it bleed. If the cracks are due to excessively dry skin, daily moisterising is recommended with some minor exfoliating. Some people may require speacially formulated moisterisers to manage the cracked dry skin. Cracked skin due to heavy callousing requires debridement (reducing) and then special moisterisers to treat them with on-going care for prevention.
If you are concerned or feel you require a specialist opinion, see your podiatrist for help.