Corns and Calluses

A callus or corn is the body’s protective response to the excessive pressure that is put on the skin during the propulsive phase of the gait cycle i.e. Mid-Stance to Toe-Off.

A callus is an extended area of thickened skin on the soles of the feet and occurs in areas of excessive pressure and friction. It generally appears wherever the skin rubs against the bone, footwear or indeed the ground. Corns occur over a bony prominence of the foot such as a joints. There are two main forms of corn: ‘hard and soft’.

Hard corns - are the most common and appear over a joint as a small area of hard skin up to the size of a pea. They are usually due to the feet or toes functioning incorrectly or being placed in ill-fitting footwear.

Soft corns are less common but occur in a similar way to ones which are hard. They are of a ‘white and rubbery’ texture and usually sit between the toes due to sweat or damp feet from poorly aerated shoes or improper drying.

Other types of corns include:

Fibrous corns: These can be much more painful than a normal soft or hard corn as they have been around for much longer and appear to be deeply attached to the tissue of the toes.

Seed Corns: These are clusters of tiny corns that are found on the bottom of the feet and are usually painless.

Treatment for calluses:

This condition is treatable in many ways. The rough hard skin can be rubbed off using a pumice stone or a chiropody sponge. A moisturising cream can also be very effective in breaking down the dyness of the skin. If the condition is chronic and painful, the Podiatrist will remove the skin for you and redistribute pressure via orthotics and ensure that padding and comfort is maintained for the patient.

Treatment for corns:

Do not cut corns independently – visit your local Podiatrist.

Hard corns are usually caused by a combination of narrow shoes and toe deformities – so one treatment is to wear wider shoes. They can be cut or burned off with a topical acid treatment. Finally surgery becomes the only option if the above suggestions do not work. Soft corns are usually caused be excessively wide toe bones. Again, a switch to wider shoes is a temporary solution. However surgery is again frequently used since it can provide instantaneous relief and can be performed in the local surgery with minimal recovery time.

back to list