Calluses & Corns

What is a callus?

Calluses are tough, thick patches of skin that can appear on your hands and feet. Hand and foot calluses usually feel harder than the surrounding skin. In most cases, calluses are not harmful, but they can lead to complications such as infection.

Foot calluses are caused by repeated friction, pressure, or contact. Calluses have a similar feel to corns but differ in that they are considerably larger and often softer than corns. Foot calluses are most often the result of shoes that are too tight, high-heeled shoes, or shoes that simply don't fit right on your feet. Another cause of foot calluses comes from wearing shoes without socks because this produces added friction on the feet.

To prevent foot calluses, you should always be sure to buy shoes that fit properly. You may want to have both of your feet professionally measured to make sure that the width and length are the right size for each. Replacing worn shoes can also help prevent foot calluses because worn soles don't offer the same protection against the shock of hard surfaces as newer ones.

To treat foot calluses, you should start by protecting the skin with a bandage or some sort of cushioning that will help reduce the friction or pressure on that area. To soften foot calluses you can soak your feet in warm, soapy water and apply moisturizers to them. Talk to a health care provider immediately if you suspect an infection has formed. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove severe foot calluses.

What is a Corn?

Corns are similar to calluses, but considerably smaller. They usually form on your hands and feet. Hand and foot corns usually feel harder than the surrounding skin and can be painful when pressure is applied.

Foot corns can be caused by repeated friction, pressure, or contact. They are most often the result of shoes that don't fit right on your feet. If the shoe is too tight, there is added friction between your toes or between the tops of your toes and the inside of the shoe. If the shoe is too loose, your foot may slide and rub against the shoe or seams inside the shoe. Another cause of foot corns comes from wearing shoes without socks because this produces added friction on the feet.

Prevent and Treat Foot Corns

To prevent foot corns, you should keep your feet dry and make sure you always wear properly fitting shoes. If you do develop foot corns, you can treat them by using a pumice stone or emery board to smooth the skin. This helps to remove the build-up of hardened skin tissue. However, if your feet are prone to infection due to diabetes or arthritis, consult a health care provider before attempting to treat foot corns on your own.