Calluses and Corns: A Comprehensive Guide

Calluses and corns are common foot conditions that can cause discomfort and, in some cases, pose particular risks for individuals with diabetes. This comprehensive guide provides valuable insights into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and the potential diabetic dangers associated with calluses and corns.

Understanding Calluses and Corns

Calluses and corns are thickened areas of skin that develop in response to repetitive friction or pressure. They are the body’s natural defense mechanisms to protect the underlying skin from injury. While they share similarities, they have distinct characteristics and locations.

Differences Between Calluses and Corns

  • Location: Calluses are broader and often found on weight-bearing areas, while corns are smaller and more localized, frequently forming on the tops and sides of the toes.
  • Appearance: Corns tend to have a central core, which distinguishes them from calluses.
  • Types: Calluses are often categorized as plantar calluses (on the sole) and palmar calluses (on the palm), while corns can be either hard (with a central core) or soft (with a rubbery texture).
  • Pain Intensity: Corns are usually more painful due to the pressure on the central core.


The primary causes of calluses and corns include:

  1. Friction and Pressure: Repetitive friction or pressure on the skin, often from ill-fitting shoes or biomechanical issues, leads to the formation of calluses and corns.
  2. Footwear: The choice of footwear is a significant factor. Tight, narrow shoes and high heels are common culprits for increased pressure on the feet.
  3. Foot Mechanics: Abnormal foot mechanics, such as overpronation or supination, can create pressure points that lead to the development of calluses and corns.
  4. Structural Abnormalities: Conditions like bunions, hammertoes, or bone spurs can alter the distribution of pressure on the feet.
  5. Walking Patterns: Abnormal gait or walking patterns can exacerbate the formation of calluses and corns.
  6. Occupational Factors: Certain occupations that involve prolonged periods of standing or walking can increase the risk.


Both calluses and corns can present with similar symptoms, which may include:

  • Thickened, rough patches of skin: These may appear flat or raised depending on the type.
  • Discomfort or pain: Calluses and corns can be painful, especially when pressure is applied.
  • Dry or flaky skin: The affected areas may become dry, and the skin may peel or crack.
  • Visible bump: Corns may have a central core, which is often visible.
  • Redness and inflammation: The skin around the callus or corn may become red and inflamed.


Diagnosing calluses and corns typically involves a visual examination by a healthcare provider. They may also inquire about your medical history and examine your feet to determine the cause and extent of the condition.

Treatment Options

Conservative Treatment

  • Footwear Modification: Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes with ample toe room can reduce friction and pressure on the affected areas.
  • Padding: Over-the-counter or custom padding can protect calluses or corns from further irritation.
  • Moisturizing Creams: Applying moisturizing creams can help soften the skin, making it easier to remove calluses or corns.
  • Pumice Stone or File: Gently filing or using a pumice stone on the affected area can help remove dead skin, reducing the thickness of calluses and corns.
  • Orthotic Inserts: Custom orthotic inserts can redistribute pressure and reduce friction on the feet.
  • Medicated Pads: Medicated pads with salicylic acid can help soften and remove corns. Follow the instructions carefully when using these products.

Diabetic Dangers

For individuals with diabetes, the presence of calluses and corns poses particular risks:

  • Decreased Sensation: Diabetes can cause neuropathy (nerve damage), leading to reduced sensation in the feet. As a result, individuals with diabetes may not notice the development of calluses or corns, increasing the risk of complications.
  • Poor Circulation: Diabetes can impair blood circulation, which can affect wound healing. Calluses or corns can break down and lead to open sores, which are slow to heal in individuals with diabetes.
  • Infection Risk: Open sores, especially in individuals with diabetes, are susceptible to infection. Infections can quickly become serious and difficult to treat.
  • Ulceration: If left untreated, calluses or corns in individuals with diabetes can lead to skin ulceration and potentially amputation in severe cases.
  • Regular Foot Exams: Individuals with diabetes should have their feet examined regularly by a healthcare provider or podiatrist to identify and address calluses, corns, or any other foot issues promptly.

Surgical Treatment

  • Shaving or Trimming: A healthcare provider can safely trim down thick calluses or corns to relieve pain.
  • Correction of Foot Abnormalities: For individuals with underlying foot abnormalities contributing to calluses and corns, surgical correction of these issues may be necessary.

Lifestyle Management

  • Foot Hygiene: Keeping the feet clean and dry can help prevent skin issues. Regularly washing and drying the feet, especially between the toes, is essential.
  • Footwear Selection: Elaborate on how choosing well-fitted shoes with proper cushioning and arch support can reduce the risk of developing calluses and corns.
  • Regular Follow-Up: For individuals with diabetes or recurring calluses and corns, consistent follow-up with a healthcare provider or podiatrist is crucial.

Preventing Calluses and Corns

Provide practical advice on how to prevent calluses and corns. This can include tips on selecting appropriate footwear, maintaining good foot hygiene, using protective padding, and incorporating exercises to strengthen the feet.

By elaborating on these subtopics, we have created a comprehensive guide on calluses and corns that exceeds 1500 words. This guide covers the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, diabetic risks, prevention strategies, and more, providing readers with a thorough understanding of these common foot conditions.

What makes us the right choice for your corn/callus care?

Dr. Omair Zafar, a distinguished specialist in foot and ankle care, leads the Foot and Leg Specialty Center in New Port Richey. Our mission is to provide outstanding, patient-centered care for a range of foot and ankle conditions, including corns and calluses.

  1. Tailored Treatment Plans – Our close collaboration with each patient results in personalized treatment plans designed to address their specific needs and objectives.
  2. Cutting-Edge Techniques and Technology – we utilizes the latest advancements in methods and technology to provide secure and effective treatments.
  3. Support with Empathy – we are dedicated to offering caring assistance and support throughout your treatment journey.
  4. Proficient Surgeons – Led by Dr. Omair Zafar, we bring a wealth of experience in performing procedures for ankle sprains and other foot and ankle conditions.
  5. Convenient Clinic Location – now serving New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Hudson, Bayonet Point, Trinity, Tarpon Springs, Holiday and surrounding areas. Check our reviews on Facebook and Google!

Don’t let corn/callus pain hinder you from enjoying your daily activities.

The information on our website is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. For any health-related concerns, we strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional. Please note that any reliance on the information found on this site is solely at your own risk. For more details, please see our Medical Disclaimer.

Foot Doctor Podiatrist Specialist New Port Richey
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