Corns and calluses are annoying - and sometimes painful – areas of thickened skin. They form in areas of skin that receive excessive pressure or rubbing.
The medical term for the thickened skin that forms corns and calluses is hyperkeratosis (plural = hyperkeratoses).
Calluses and corns form as protective pads of skin, in response to repeated friction or pressure.
A callus is an abnormal thickening of the top layer of skin, which is composed of the natural protein, keratin. Calluses can form on areas that are repeatedly exposed to friction or pressure, such as when working without protective gloves. They are usually painless or only mildly painful.
A corn is a small, thickened area of skin that forms on the toes. Corns are usually painful because they press against the underlying bones.
Both corns and calluses can be treated at our podiatry clinic with minimal discomfort.
Calluses—any activity that applies repeated friction or pressure to an area of skin, including:
Lifting weights (hands)
Using tools (hands)
Playing a stringed instrument (hands)
Running long distances (feet)
Kneeling to lay carpet or tile (knees)
Walking on hard surfaces without shoes (feet)
Corns—any activity or condition that applies repeated friction or pressure to the toes, including:
Wearing ill-fitting shoes
Bunching of socks around the toes
Wearing socks with seams that rub against the toes
Foot abnormality causing a protrusion that rubs against footwear
Our podiatrist will examine the skin area to determine whether you are dealing with corns or calluses. To correctly diagnose the problem, the doctor will also ask about symptoms, and may need to use a scalpel to reveal layers of skin growth to make sure it is not a wart.
Corns and calluses are easily distinguished by:
Location—Corns usually only form on or between the toes.
Degree of pain—Corns are usually quite painful, while calluses are usually painless or only slightly painful.
Usually, calluses and corns can be successfully treated at home with over the counter medications...
Occasionally, minor surgery may be necessary. People with diabetes or circulatory problems should always see a medical doctor or podiatrist for treatment. Self-treatment may lead to severe infection in these individuals.
Our doctors may suggest a keratin-dissolving medication that will help in dissolving calluses and corns more quickly. In severe cases, calluses and corns may need to be shaved off with a scalpel. More extensive surgery may be needed to correct foot deformities that cause extremely painful or debilitating corns.