Corns and callus

Corns and callus: different problems, but similar causes

Corns and callus occur as a result of pressure and friction on the skin of your foot. Your body responds to the pressure by growing more skin for protection. If the pressure on the skin continues, then the skin thickens to the point where it becomes painful. Too much pressure can be caused by:

  • footwear that is too tight
  • toe deformities
  • bony prominence
  • biomechanical or gait abnormalities

What is the difference between corns and callus?

Generally callus refers to a more diffuse thickening of the skin, more common on the ball of the foot. Pain from calluses is generally a mild discomfort.

A corn is a deeper more focal formation of hard skin more common on the toes. A corn can form under a callused area. Corns can give more severe pain when bearing weight. If pain persists while not bearing weight, this could mean that your corn is infected.

How do I manage or avoid corns and callus?

  • Follow the advice of your podiatrist.
  • Wear properly fitted shoes.
  • Observe proper foot hygiene and use emollients to keep the skin of your feet in good condition.

How does a podiatrist treat corns and callus?

To treat corns and callus, our podiatrists de-bride the hard skin, a painless procedure which gives immediate relief. However unless the cause of the corn or callus – the excessive pressure on that area of your foot – is addressed, your corn or callus may return.

Our treatment may include:

  • Proper assessment to determine the cause of the corn and/or callus
  • Eliminating the diagnosis of a verruca, a similar condition but with a very different cause and treatment plan
  • Regular maintenance to keep the corn and callus reduced
  • Use of padding to prevent the pressure
  • Advice on properly fitting footwear
  • The use of customised orthotics to relieve pressure under the foot
  • Surgical correction of the bony prominence that may be causing the high-pressure area
       

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