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Calluses and Corns

What are calluses and corns?

Calluses develop as a normal response to chronic excessive friction and pressure. They are protective pads made up of a thickened upper layer of skin. Corns are small calluses that develop on the top of the toes due to pressure or rubbing against shoes or other toes. Both can be the result of poorly fitting shoes, abnormal foot function, or high activity levels. 

Treatment for calluses and corns

Calluses are usually painless, but corns can be quite painful. Sometimes, corns are confused with warts. Calluses can be avoided by removing the source of the rubbing and thinning the callus with a pumice stone. Treatment for corns should provide symptom relief as well as lessen the underlying cause. Treatment options may include:

  • Applying pads around the corn area

  • Wearing larger, more comfortable shoes

  • Surgery is only considered if other measures fail 

Calluses and corns are rarely a serious condition. However, people with diabetes are prone to infections and ulcers and should examine their feet on a regular basis. If any sores are noticed, they should seek medical attention right away.   

Online Medical Reviewer: Marcellin, Lindsey, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Petersen, Sheralee, MPAS, PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 1/17/2013
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