Corns and Calluses

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What are Corns? What are Calluses?

corns---callousesCorns and calluses are areas where the skin has thickened to protect that area from irritation. It happens when something rubs against the foot repeatedly causing pressure on that part of the foot. When the thickening of skin occurs on the bottom of the foot, it’s called a callus. If it occurs on the top of the foot (or toe), it’s called a corn.

Corns and calluses are not contagious but may become painful when they get too thick. Diabetics often find these conditions can lead to more serious issues.

Causes of corns

Corns usually occur where a toe rubs against the interior side of a shoe. Pressure at the balls of the feet—common in women who regularly wear high heels—may cause calluses to develop on the ball of the foot.

People with with hammer toes, are often prone to corns and calluses.


Corns and calluses usually appear as a rough, dull appearance. Corns and callus may sometimes be difficult to distinguish from a wart. Corns or calluses sometimes cause pain.

 Home Care

If the corn or callus isn’t bothering you, it can probably be left alone. Mild corns and calluses may not require treatment. It’s a good idea, though, to investigate possible causes of the corn or callus. If your footwear is contributing to the development of a corn or callus, it’s time to look for other shoes.

 When to Visit a Podiatrist

If corns or calluses are causing pain and discomfort be sure to consult with a Podiatrist.  Also, people with diabetes, poor circulation, or other serious illnesses should have their feet checked.

 Diagnosis and Treatment

The podiatrist usually will conduct a complete examination of your feet. X-rays may be taken; your podiatrist may also want to inspect your shoes and watch you walk. He or she will also take a complete medical history. Corns and calluses are diagnosed based on appearance and history.

Typically If you have mild corns or calluses, your podiatrist may suggest changing your shoes and/or adding padding to your shoes. A Podiatrist my trim with a blade smaller Larger corns and calluses are most effectively reduced (made smaller) with a surgical blade. A podiatrist can use a blade to carefully shave away the thickened, dead skin—right in the office. The procedure is painless because the skin is already dead. Additional treatments may be needed if the corn or callus recurs.

Cortisone injections into the foot or toe may be given if the corn or callus is causing significant pain. Surgery may be necessary in cases that do not respond to conservative treatment.


  • Wear properly fitted shoes. If you have any deformities of the toe or foot, talk to your podiatrist to find out what shoes are best for you.
  • Gel pad inserts may decrease friction points and pressure. Your podiatrist can help you determine where pads might be useful.


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Dr. Gregory M. Jansyn