Do I Have a Corn or Callus?

When you notice a thickened area of skin on your foot, you might wonder what it is or ask yourself if it’s a corn or callus or some other skin issue. It’s a question we often get from our patients about abnormal areas of skin that they have noticed. While many can identify blisters easily, the distinction between corns and calluses are more subtle and can be difficult to know.

Similarities between corns and calluses:

  • They are both thickened areas of skin that develop from friction or pressure, often from tight shoes, or from deformities like bunions or hammertoes.
  • They act to protect the inner skin layers
  • They are the more a bone issue rather than a skin issue

Here are the most notable differences between corns and calluses:

  • Corns feel like rounded bumps and can have a dry, waxy, or yellow appearance.
  • Calluses are bigger, flatter, and have a rougher texture.
  • Corns often have a hard core and can hurt when pressed.
  • Calluses are usually painless.
  • Corns typically develop on the top of toes.
  • Calluses are more common on the bottoms of the feet, heel, or outside of the big toe.

How do you treat them?

While there are many over the counter methods of removing corns and calluses like wearing roomier shoes to prevent friction, using protective padding, or using a pumice stone to remove dead skin, it is always recommended to see a podiatrist for the best treatment. If you have diabetes, never try to remove them yourself, as any wounds or cuts can lead to infections.

Experienced podiatrists can provide safe and effective treatment to remove painful corns and calluses. They can prescribe topical medications to soften or heal the areas, or cut away dead skin using sterile instruments. In order to prevent recurrence, they may recommend custom orthotics to provide cushioning or correcting any abnormal foot mechanics that caused the corns and calluses.

Get expert foot and ankle care

Need help with a skin, nail, or other foot issue? Get in touch with our team of board-certified podiatrists for expert, reliable care! Schedule an appointment at any of our locations in Louisville, Bardstown, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and New Albany or request an appointment online!

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