Corns and Calluses

About Corns & Calluses

Corns or Calluses are areas of thickened and sometimes hardened tissue that your body creates to help protect sensitive skin.  Corns and calluses are often confused for one another.  They are technically different by definition but to simplify our understanding of these annoying problems, we have to realize that both have the same cause and thus the same solution. There are some exceptions to the rule, but the majority of all corns and calluses are caused from excessive pressure and friction.

Difference Between Corns and Calluses

Corns are usually found on the sides or tops of the foot and there are a few different kinds of corns.  A hard corn is a patch of dead, thickened skin with a central core.  A soft corn is similar but much thinner and a seed corn is a very tiny little callus that usually appears on the bottom of the foot and is sensitive to pressure.

Calluses can develop anywhere on the body that there is repetitive friction.  The most common type of callus is the plantar callus found on the bottom of the foot.

Causes and Risks of Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are caused by repetitive friction to one area on your foot and are quite common.  Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly, walking bare foot, and foot deformities are the most common causes of calluses on the feet. Foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, and high arches cause abnormal pressure areas that will develop callusing. These calluses are often painful and cause difficulty with walking and exercise. Because corns and calluses are a result of a more complicated foot problem, they should be properly assessed in order to treat and prevent future problems.


Paring corns and calluses and using corn plasters can be effective in reducing pain and discomfort but unless the underlying cause is treated, the callus will return.  Custom orthotics can be an extremely effective treatment to offload pressure areas and calluses, and reduce some of the effects that foot deformity has on our walking.  In some circumstances surgery is required in order to achieve lasting relief.

If you are diabetic or suffer from poor circulation you should consult Alberta Family Podiatry as soon as you find a corn or callus on your foot.  This is especially important if they are causing pain, swelling, redness or showing other signs of an infection.

Contract Alberta Family Podiatry for more information.