Corns and Calluses: What’s the Difference?

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At Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS, we find that patients often use corns and calluses interchangeably. While corns and calluses have some things in common, they also have some important differences that can affect treatment.

Rubbed the Wrong Way

Both calluses and corns are caused by repeated friction or pressure to one spot. However, they each have a unique appearance and develop for different reasons. Calluses appear as thickened patches of skin that are usually hard. Oftentimes a callus develops in response to an internal threat to the foot. Repeated pressure on the ball of the foot, for example, causes pain and potential damage deep within the foot. A callus forms on the surface of the foot to protect the tender spot underneath.

In the case of a corn, friction on the surface of the skin is the cause of its development. A corn can be hard or soft but often it has a hard center, resembling a kernel of corn, and hence the name. Corns are seen in cases where friction is fairly constant due to a deformity such as hammertoe or bunion.

Pinpointing the Problem

It’s important if you have a corn or callus that you have our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, examine your foot and determine the cause. In the case of an internal or structural problem, the foot doctor may recommend orthotic inserts to shift pressure away from the pained area or even surgical correction. Other conservative methods of treating corns and calluses include:

  • Soaking feet in warm, soapy water and then using a pumice stone or foot file to remove dead skin. Apply a rich moisturizer afterwards to keep skin soft.
  • Padding to cover and protect corns and calluses to reduce pain and prevent the conditions from worsening.
  • Wearing shoes that are designed to accommodate any deformities and that will reduce or eliminate friction and pressure on a particular area of the foot.

The podiatrist will also have other ways of treating corns and calluses and relieving pain. If you have a corn or callus, don’t delay. Contact our Wayne, New Jersey office for an appointment by calling: 973-595-1555.