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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Skin Disorders Callus and corn

Callus and corn

Calluses and corns are circumscribed areas of hyperkeratosis at a site of pressure or friction. Calluses are more superficial and usually asymptomatic; corns are deeper and may be painful. Calluses and corns are caused by intermittent pressure or friction, usually over a bony prominence (eg, heel, metatarsal heads).


  • A thick, rough area of skin
  • A hardened, raised bump
  • Tenderness or pain under your skin
  • Flaky, dry or waxy skin


  • lll-fitting shoes- When shoes are too tight or have very high heels, they compress areas of your foot
  • When they're too loose, your foot may repeatedly slide and rub against the shoe. Your foot may also rub against a poorly placed seam or stitch inside the shoe
  • Skipping socks. Wearing shoes and sandals without socks can lead to friction on your feet
  • Using hand tools- Calluses on your hands may result from the repeated pressure of using tools on the job, around the house or in the garden


Corns are smaller than calluses and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin

Corns tend to develop on parts of your feet that don't bear weight, such as the tops and sides of your toes, though they can also be found in weight-bearing area

Corns can even develop between your toes. Corns can be painful when pushed

Calluses usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knee

Calluses are rarely painful and vary in size and shape, though they're often larger than corns

How to differentiate between corn and callus

A corn may be differentiated from a plantar wart or callus by trimming away the horny skin

After paring, a callus shows preserved skin markings, whereas a wart appears sharply circumscribed, sometimes with soft macerated tissue or with central black dots (bleeding points) representing thrombosed capillaries

A corn, when pared, shows a sharply outlined yellowish to tan translucent core that interrupts the normal architecture of the papillary dermis.

When to see a doctor

  • If a corn or callus becomes very painful or inflamed
  • If you have diabetes or poor circulation
  • Even a relatively minor injury to your foot could lead to an infected open sore (foot ulcer) that's difficult to heal


  • Wear shoes that give your toes plenty of room
  • Wear felt pads or bandages over areas that rub against footwear
  • Wear padded gloves when using hand tools. Or try padding your tool handles with cloth tape or covers

Lifestyle and home remedies

Soaking your hands or feet in warm, soapy water softens corns and calluses. This can make it easier to remove the thickened skin

During or after bathing, rub corns or calluses with a pumice stone or washcloth to help remove a layer of toughened skin

Don't use a pumice stone if you have diabetes because your risk of infection is higher

Apply moisturizer to hands and feet to help keep your skin soft

Wear comfortable shoes and socks


Add 2 to 3 tbsp. of baking soda to warm water and begin soaking the affected area. This will help dissolve the dead skin and begin the healing process. Soak for approximately 30 minutes. Dry the area completely. Find a piece of cloth and soak it with vinegar, apply a area of skin which you are treating. When you wake up, remove the piece of cloth


  • Carnation Corn Caps- Clean and dry the feet to ensure adhesion.Firmly fix in position with adhesive straps. When properly applied it should not move or slip.Change the corn cap every two days until the corn is easily removed
  • A maximum of five corn caps should be used per corn.No more that three corns should be treated at one time
  • Trimming can pare down thickened skin or trim a large corn with a scalpel, usually during an office visit
  • Apply a patch containing 40% or 17% salicylic acid patch
  • If you have an underlying foot deformity, your doctor may prescribe custom-made padded shoe inserts (orthotics) to prevent recurring corns or calluses.