All About Corns and Calluses

Calluses and Corns can be unpleasant to look at and feel quite painful! They can occur anywhere on the foot where there’s rubbing or irritation.

Calluses and corns are skin changes that occur as a result of repetitive trauma to the skin of our feet when they are placed under mechanical stress from your everyday activities – such as long standing, walking, and running.

In this article, our Podiatrist Trang will cover these skin conditions in a bit more detail:

  • What are calluses & corns?
  • Who gets calluses & corns?
  • Why do calluses & corns occur?
  • Things to avoid when you have calluses & corns
  • What are the treatment options for calluses & corns?

What are callouses?

Calluses are areas of hard or thickened skin on the foot formed in response to mechanical stresses. While most of us think of hard skin as simply normal, calluses can mean pressure spots and can be painful when you walk or try to do exercise.

Sometimes the thickened calluses that go untreated can lead to cracks, particularly around your heels as it is more prone to develop cracks or fissures in the skin and it can be very painful. 

What are corns?

When the pressure is concentrated in a small area, a corn, which has a central core, may develop. Very often, these areas can become painful, especially when standing or walking. There are two types of corns: soft and hard. Soft corns usually occur between the toes and have a softer, white appearance, whereas a hard corn typically has a much harder centre similar to a callous. Common sites for corns and calluses to develop usually include the ball of the foot, under the big toe joint, the tips and tops of toes, between the toes and on any bony prominences. 

Sometimes corns are mistaken for warts.  To learn more about the difference, you can learn more about warts at our blog HERE.

Who gets callouses and corns?

Almost everyone! In fact, painful calluses and corns affect more people than any other kind of foot problem that present to us in our clinic. 

Why do they occur?

Mechanical stresses often are the main causes of calluses and corns. These stresses include:

  • Poor fitting footwear – this can result in higher pressure on a small area such as a joint. For women, tight fitting heels commonly cause corns to form over the little toes and balls of the feet.
  • Your biomechanics or the way you walk can cause abnormal pressure distribution on your foot, which results in callus formation along areas such as the heel and the ball of the big toe. 
  • Bony prominences – like bunions or hammertoes.
  • Advancing age – this is mostly because the protective fat pad of the feet is lost with age

Things to avoid when you have corns and calluses

It sounds quite common sense but avoid wearing shoes that makes the corns or callus feel painful.  It usually is a tell-tale sign that those shoes are too narrow or is causing the pressure that has contributed to the corn/callus being there in the first place.

Another thing to avoid is using over-the-counter medicated corn pads from the pharmacy (especially if you have Diabetes).  When applied improperly these pads can move and sit over healthy skin tissue, creating a chemical skin burn in the healthy tissue around the corn which can then cause infections and ulcers (a hole through the skin) in patients with diabetes, poor circulation, or numbness in their feet.

How can a Podiatrist help me with corns and calluses? 

At The Footcare Clinic, our Podiatrists are experts at treating painful callouses and corns.  In a consultation, you will expect to receive the following:

  • We will painlessly remove and debride the corn and callus 
  • We will identify the cause 
  • We can make customised padding to redistribute pressure away from the painful area
  • If needed, we can make permanent shoe inserts (orthoses) to offer long-term pressure relief
  • We will give advice on appropriate footwear
  • We will also give advice on appropriate foot care at home to improve the health of your feet

Why put up with pain from calluses and corns?  Book an online appointment to see one of our Podiatrists at this LINK, we’re here to help get you back to moving well and feeling great!

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