Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are almost the same thing. Also known as hyperkeratoses, they are both thick patches of skin that build up on your hands and feet. They are caused by the same thing, pressure against the top of your foot or wherever the callus or corn is. Technically, a corn IS a callus, but it all depends on where it is and how it’s made.  They may be painful and sore from constant pressure, especially corns. Corns have a hard knot in the middle of them and often hurt where that knot is formed. It can be difficult to tell them apart, so here is a closer look at these two afflictions so that you can tell them apart.


Calluses are thick areas of skin that have built up over time, due to repeated pressure or friction. They can occur anywhere on the body that deals with repeated friction, but usually in smooth hairless areas. The feet are especially susceptible because of the weight ratio and the amount of pressure applied often get calluses from shoes that are too small or do not otherwise fit properly, and from constant walking. Calluses usually form on weight bearing parts of the feet, like the balls of feet or the heels, and with improperly fitted shoes, on the sides of toes. However it is caused, the callus is a bodily reaction and is designed to protect the area from soreness and blistering due to friction. Unfortunately, the body can take this protection too far and calluses can become infected if not treated properly.


Corns are calluses that occur on the tops of the toes, between them, or can grow right off of the end of someone’s toes. A corn can be just a slight thickening of skin, or turn into a painful hard knot at the end of the toe. The corn has a hard center and widens into a a base of tough skin. There are two different kinds, hard corns, which occur on drier, flat surfaces of skin, and soft corns, in which the surrounding skin generally stays moist but the center of the corn is still hardened skin. Both of these can turn into a medical nightmare if not treated properly, as they can lead to infection and become extremely painful. Untreated corns can cause ulceration, or the erosion of skin and tissue into a sore. Occasionally, a condition called hammertoe (toes whose bones are permanently bent) may be the cause of frequent corns.

There are several methods of treatment for these afflictions, and it’s all very simple. If the calluses or corns are caused by ill-fitted shoes then simply changing the shoes might be the solution to the problem. Seeing a doctor to have the skin removed and special padding applied to the places where there is the most pressure could be necessary as well and if ulceration has already occurred, one might find themselves taking antibiotics to prevent infections. In severe cases, surgery must be applied to correct dysfunctions such as hammertoes to prevent getting the corns altogether. The best way to remove corns and calluses from your feet is to see a physician and let them take care of the problem.