Plainfield (815) 439-1188 15724 S. Rt 59 Unit 100
Bolingbrook (630) 226-9860 215 Remington Blvd., Suite A2

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Corns and Calluses

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What is the Difference Between A Callus and a Corn?

When your skin is attempting to protect itself from friction and pressure, thick and hardened layers of skin develop. These are known as corns and calluses. You will typically see them develop on your feet, toes, hands, and fingers.

If you can reduce the friction of pressure where the corns and/or calluses developed, they will disappear on their own. However, there are times when it’s best to seek your doctor’s advice to discuss proper care for the condition.

The back of two feet is visible. The left foot has a callused heel while the right heel is free of calluses.

Corns and Calluses

While corns and calluses are similar, they are not the same.


Corns have a distinct and hard center, and the skin surrounding them is inflamed and swollen. Unlike calluses, they are painful when pressed. Hard corns will often form on the top of your toes or the outer edge of your small toe. Soft corns typically appear between your toes.


Calluses are larger than corns and vary in size and shape. Most of the time, a callus will develop on the sole of the feet, especially under the heel or ball. In addition, you might find them on the palms of your hands, and even your knees.

What Causes Them?

Both calluses and corns are caused by repeated pressure and friction in one area. Some examples include:

  • Wearing shoes or socks that don’t fit. If you regularly wear tight-fitting shoes or socks, undue pressure gets applied to your toes which can cause issues. On the other hand, wearing loose-fitting shoes can cause your feet to slide, rubbing against the inside of the shoe.
  • Using hand tools – If you work in a field where you commonly use hand tools and perform similar tasks on a daily basis, calluses may appear.
  • Working out regularly – If you exercise daily and utilize weight bars, calluses can appear if you’re not using the correct handwear.
  • Genetics – If you find corns and calluses appearing on non-weight-bearing areas such as your soles or palms, it could be passed down through family genes.

To help prevent corns and calluses from forming, you should wear shoes that provide proper spacing for your toes, use protective coverings such as corn pads and bandages, and wear protective gloves when using hand tools and working out.


If you reduce the amount of friction to the skin, but your corns or calluses are not disappearing, there are a few treatments you can seek. Listed below are a few home remedies as well as treatments that can be performed by a board certified podiatrist.

  • If you see your podiatrist, they can cut away some of the thick skin to relieve pressure on the tissues.
  • You can also soak the irritated site in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes and then scrape the area.
  • If you use moisturizer daily on the feet, that helps as well (this works best when you moisturize your feet at night and then wear socks to bed).
  • Your doctor can provide you with medicated patches that help remove corns and calluses.
  • Custom-made prescription padded shoe inserts can help prevent recurring issues.

Your doctor can also recommend surgery to correct any issues with bone alignment that is responsible for the friction. Learn more about cosmetic foot surgery in Plainfield by contacting Suburban Foot & Ankle Associates.

Questions? Contact Us Today

Two Convenient Locations


15724 S. Rt 59 Unit 100

Plainfield, IL 60544

815-439-1188 phone

815-439-2453 fax

Illinois Podiatric Medical Association


215 Remington Blvd., Suite A2

Bolingbrook, IL 60440

630-226-9860 phone

815-439-2453 fax

American Podiatric Medical Association