Corns and calluses are thick layers of skin. They are caused by repeated pressure or friction at the spot where the corn or callus develops.
Corns and calluses are caused by pressure or friction on skin. A corn is thickened skin on the top or side of a toe. Most of the time it is caused by bad fitting shoes. A callus is thickened skin on your feet or the soles of your feet.
The thickening of the skin is a protective reaction. For example, farmers and rowers get calluses on their hands that prevent blisters from forming. People with bunions often develop a callus over the bunion because it rubs against the shoe.
Symptoms may include:
- Skin is thick and hardened.
- Skin may be flaky and dry.
- Hardened, thick skin areas are found on feet that may be rubbed or pressed.
- The affected areas can be painful and may bleed.
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider will make the diagnosis after looking at your skin.
To treat corns:
- If poor fitting shoes are causing the corn, changing to shoes that fit better will help get rid of the problem most of the time.
- Protect the corn with a non-medicated pad while it is healing. You can buy these at most pharmacies
- Sometimes your provider may need to debride the corn to give you relief.
To treat calluses:
- Calluses often occur due to excess pressure placed on the skin because of another problem such as bunions or hammertoes. Proper treatment of any underlying condition should prevent the calluses from returning.
- Sometimes your provider may need to debride the callous to give you relief.
If an infection or ulcer occurs in an area of a callus or corn, the tissue may need to be removed by a provider. You may need to take antibiotics.
People with diabetes are prone to ulcers and infections and should regularly examine their feet to identify any problems right away. Such foot injuries need medical attention.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Check your feet carefully if you have diabetes or numbness in the feet or toes. Otherwise, the problem should resolve with changing to better-fitting shoes or wearing gloves.
Call your provider if:
- You have diabetes and notice problems with your feet.
- You think your corn or callus is not getting better with treatment.
- You have continued symptoms of pain, redness, warmth, or drainage from the area.