A callus is a thickening of the skin where it regularly rubs against something. For example, a callus may form on a finger due to pressure from a pen or pencil stringed instrument. On the feet, calluses may be caused movement against the inside of shoes.
A corn is a protective thickening of the skin on the top of the foot. It is usually on a bony, knobby area of a toe and can be painful. Firm, dry corns that form on the surface of a toe are called hard corns. Moist corns that form between the toes are called soft corns.
Calluses and corns form as protective pads of skin in response to repeated friction or pressure. Common causes of calluses include:
Playing a stringed instrument
Running long distances
Walking on hard surfaces without shoes
Kneeling to lay carpet or tile
Common causes of corns include:
Foot abnormality that pushes bony area against footwear
Wearing tight, poorly-fitting shoes
Wearing socks that bunch around toes or with seams that rub against the toes
Factors that may increase the risk of calluses and corns include:
Professions or physical activities that cause repeated friction or pressure on the skin
Tight footwear and narrow shoes
Foot deformities, such as bunion or hammer toe
Symptoms of calluses include:
Rough, thickened area of skin
Painless or minor pain
Yellow in color
Symptoms of corns include:
A small, usually painful bump over bony area on or between toes
Center may be dense knot of skin
Can cause pain when walking
Large corns or calluses may have some bleeding in space between thick and normal skin. It will cause some brown, red, or black to appear in them. Some corns and calluses may pull away from normal skin. It can open the skin and increase the risk of infection.
The doctor can diagnose a callus or corn by a visual exam. They will ask about any other foot problems and health issues like diabetes or circulation problems. The doctor may inspect the feet for:
Problems with structure of foot bones
Poor bone alignment
Problems with walking pattern
Treatment of calluses and corns usually include self-care and medication. In severe cases, minor surgery may be necessary. People with
or circulatory problems should always see a doctor or podiatrist for treatment because self-treatment may lead to severe infection for these individuals.
Wear gloves, thick socks, or padding to protect your skin.
If needed, thin the callus by rubbing with a
Wear properly fitting shoes.
Remove bunching or irritating stitching of socks, or any other irritant.
If needed, thin the corn by rubbing with a
Try using doughnut-shaped corn pads, which may relieve pressure on corns.
A foot specialist may help if the callus or corn is interfering with walking. The doctor may be able to find what is causing the callus or corn. Special padding or shoe inserts may relieve pain. Some of the callus or corn tissue may be shaved off with a scalpel to ease pressure on area.
Severe foot deformities may need surgery to correct them.
To prevent calluses:
Avoid activities that apply repeated friction or pressure to the skin.
Wear gloves, thick socks, or padding over the affected area of the skin.
To prevent corns:
Wear properly fitted shoes.
Wear properly fitted socks with no irritating stitching.
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