Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are extremely common. Millions of individuals have them. The constant walking, friction and pressure on the soles and toes eventually causes thickening and hardening of the skin.

Corns are much smaller in size compared to calluses and have a hardened center surrounded by soft tender skin. Corns do not occur on weight bearing areas of the feet but on the top or the sides of the toes. Friction is a common cause of corns. Corns are quite common on the little and small toes of the foot. In most cases, these corns are tender when pressed.

Calluses on the other hand, occur on weight bearing areas of the foot. They are common on the heels or under the toes. They are not painful and in most cases, they are circular and have thickened skin. Calluses in generally are larger than corns. Calluses only require treatment when they are painful

The majority of individuals who have corns or calluses have no complaints about these skin disorders except that they are unattractive.

One only needs treatment if the corns or calluses cause symptoms like pain, or discomfort. In many individuals, self care treatments aimed at decreasing the source of friction or pressure is sufficient.

For those individuals with diabetes and corns, the story is different. Individuals who have decreased or altered blood supply to the feet should be careful about developing corns or calluses. When these get infected, it can lead to a larger infection and can compromise the function of the foot.

Many individuals have corns or calluses but have no idea. The typical features of these skin lesions are:


- Thickened skin lesions with a vague border

- Are usually found either on soles of the foot and over bony locations

- Usually are red to brown in color

- Majority are painless

- Tender when pressed

- When the skin is broken, may ache


- appear as a dry waxy to a rough thickened scaly lesion

- have distinct edges and are generally oval in shape

- most common on the top or sides of the toes

- range in texture from extremely hard to soft

- are usually painful

- when the skin breaks, can burn

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