What Causes Corns & Calluses?


The constant friction and pressure on the feet created by your footwear can create a thick layer of skin called a callus as a normal and natural response to the pressure and irritation. In the initial stages, they are not always painful, except when they form on the heels or ball of the foot where cracks or fissures in the callus can become hardened and prone to bleeding and infection.

Corns are really just small calluses that often form on top of the toes, but may also appear in between them, or on other locations on the feet including the heels. Thickened corns can become very painful, and can be considerably more painful than calluses, especially when they react to friction from the inside of your footwear. Corns can sometimes be confused with plantar warts, so see your foot doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. A corn on one of your toes can become very painful especially if an infected ulcer develops underneath it. People who experience toe deformities such as bunions and hammertoes are also more likely to develop painful corns, often on top of the hammertoes.

How to treat corns and calluses

The following tips can be very helpful for less severe corn and callus problems:

  • Wear the correct shoes—Wearing properly fitted, comfortable shoes with good support and a wide toe box will give your toes room and help prevent rubbing.
  • Padding—Applying moleskin pads to corns can help isolate them so they hurt less.
  • Soak your feet—Warm water soaks will help to soften dead skin for easier removal.
  • Shave off dead skin— Using a pumice stone or file, gently remove the dead skin.
  • Over the counter corn treatments—Salicylic acid treatment can help to dissolve corns.

Foot specialists often recommend that their diabetic patients avoid using home salicylic acid treatments and seek professional assistance for corn and callus removal to avoid complications with cutting and infection. If you cut yourself, or you notice any sores or cuts on your feet, have them checked and treated right away to avoid infection complications.

For corn and callus issues, or for any other difficulties you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles, it is best to see a foot specialist to receive the correct care. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg,  E.J. Nemet, DPM, treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including sports injuries, pediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions. With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.