Corns and Calluses

While corns and calluses can become irritating or painful, most of the time, they don’t require treatment. Both corns and calluses are made up of layers of compacted, dead skin cells, formed by repeated friction when the skin of the foot rubs against shoe irregularities or bony areas.

What’s the difference between corns and calluses?

Corns typically form on the toes, and calluses are usually found on the soles of the feet.

Corns are smaller, with a hard center that’s surrounded by inflamed (swollen) skin. These irritations usually develop in non-weight-bearing areas of your feet, like the tops or sides of your toes.

Calluses are usually larger than corns, with varying sizes and shapes. They mainly develop on weight-bearing areas like the heels or balls of your feet. You can also develop calluses on your knees or palms. They are rarely painful.

Easing corns and calluses

In most cases, unsightly corns and calluses will heal on their own, once the source of the pressure or friction has been removed. The friction may cause discomfort, pain, or a burning sensation that can be relieved by placing moleskin or other padding on the area.

Should you see a doctor?

As with most foot problems, you should consult your podiatrist if you have a corn or callus that’s causing a lot of pain, or becomes inflamed.

People with diabetes or poor circulation should always consult a doctor before treating even minor problems like corns or calluses, to prevent an infected foot ulcer (open sore) that can cause further complications.