Calluses & Corns
Calluses or hyperkeratotic tissue is a result of high pressure points and friction against the skin. To prevent further damage to these areas, skin responds by building up layers of thick, hard skin creating calluses. They usually develop on the plantar surfaces (bottom) of the feet, ball of the foot, heels, or the top of bony protuberances. If the pressure is not removed a painful central core or plug of hardened skin forms
creating a corn (heloma durum). A callus in combination with a corn can create a painful area.
Anybody can get corns and calluses, but your chances of developing them are higher if you have fallen arches, bunions, hammertoes or arthritis. Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly will also cause friction and high-pressure areas that can lead to calluses and corns.
What are the signs and symptoms?
• Deep central layers of cells called a nucleus that can be painful when pressed
• Appearance depends on the mechanical stress and location of the corn
• Hard corns are usually found over high pressure areas (bottom of feet, tip of
toes (hammer or claw toes)
while soft corns are usually located between toes
• Mostly found in areas that experience a lot of friction and weight bearing
pressure, such as the
ball of the foot and heel
• Often larger than corns but can become painful over time as the skin thickens
Before starting treatment,
a proper assessment by a chiropodist/podiatrist or family physician is required. Hard corns and calluses are often mistaken for warts while acute infection of athlete’s foot can mimic soft corns. There are various treatments
available for calluses and corns, including
medications or addressing the biomechanical
issue that is contributing to the high-pressure areas by wearing properly fitted shoes with custom orthotics. Corns can also
be surgically removed. Care
should be exercised in the use of over-the-counter corn and callus removing products. These products often result in chemical burn of the skin increasing the risk of possible infection.