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Corns and Calluses

What is a Corn?

(Heloma durum)

CornsA corn is a thickening of the surface layer of the skin. Corns usually form on the top of toes, the tip of toes and between the toes.

Corns are more common in women than men. They are more common in women because women wear tight-fitting shoes, socks and stockings more often than men.

If you have corns and are diabetic or have circulation problems, please seek professional help. (Foot Specialist)

What causes a Corn?

A corn is caused by too much pressure. The pressure may be from:

  • tight-fitting shoes
  • tight socks
  • tight stockings
  • shoe rubbing against the toe
  • deformed toes
  • crooked toes
  • Arthritis
  • Scar tissue


Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • A hard growth on the skin of the toes
  • Pain when pressure is applied to the hard growth
  • Redness and swelling around the hard growth
  • Severe discomfort around a hard growth of skin on the toes
  • Discomfort when wearing tight-fitting shoes

Complications from having Corns?

Complications can occur if corns are not treated properly. Some of the most common complications are:

  • infection
  • development of an ulcer
  • development of a fluid-filled sac beneath the corn
  • Neurovascular corns

Can corns be treated?

Yes. There are many different treatments for corns. Orthotics to deflect pressure away from the lesions. Medications, such as ibuprofen will temporarily relieve the pain and inflammation. Change in footwear and use of padding to prevent pressure.

In some cases, surgical correction is required. Modification of footwear and mechanical reduction of the corns.

What is a Callus?

CallusCalluses are a thickening of the surface layer of the skin. Is usually occurs in response to pressure. Calluses often form on the ball of the foot, the heel, and the underside of the big toe.

Calluses are more common in women than men.

How is a callus formed?

The formation of calluses is caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot.


The most common symptoms are:

  • A hard growth usually on the ball of the foot
  • Pain on weight bearing, relieved by rest
  • Increased discomfort in thin soled and high-heeled shoes

What Causes a Callus?

Calluses develop because of excessive pressure at a specific area of the foot.

The most common causes of calluses are:

  • High-heeled shoes
  • Mal-alignment of the metatarsal bones
  • Shoes that are too small
  • Abnormalities of gait
  • Flat feet
  • High arched feet
  • Excessively long metatarsal bone
  • Obesity
  • Bony prominence
  • Loss of fat pad on the underside of the foot
  • Short Achilles tendon

Can Calluses be Treated?

Yes. Treatment will depend on the cause of the callus. Applying non-medicated pads around the callus will relieve pressure

Do not try to treat them by cutting or trimming them with a razor blade or knife. This is dangerous and can worsen them.

  • Apply non-medicated pads around the callus to relieve pressure
  • Apply moleskin over areas that tend to callus.
  • Custom made orthotics
  • Medication plasters

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