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Corns vs Callouses

At first glance, corns and callouses might look quite similar. Both occur from the skin protecting itself from repeated pressure. Both can also be prevented with the proper footwear and orthotic implementation.

Here are some characteristics that can differentiate the two:

  • Callouses do not have a specific architecture, while corns do
  • Callouses form with irregular repeated friction, while corns form when the friction is oblique
  • Callouses are associated with superficial tissue, whilst corns are embedded into the skin

What is a callous?

Callous is skin which thickens and becomes yellow after being exposed to regular, significant, repeated trauma. They mainly occur in areas of high weight-bearing. This may include big toes, the sole of your feet or your heels. Your body makes this as a defence mechanism to protect the underlying structures in your feet. Callouses occur when the friction is repetitive over a prolonged period. The callous formation is normal and harmless in most cases. 

However, it may pose a risk in people with underlying conditions, including diabetes

Symptoms include:

  • A raised bump over the skin 
  • Yellow thickened piece of skin 
  • The hardness of the bump 
  • Pain when walking or wearing shoes that rub on that region 
  • Dry skin 
  • Flaky skin 
  • Sometimes blister formation may occur underlying the callouses 
  • Skin break down resulting in wound formation 


  • Book an appointment with your Podiatrist for sharps debridement of the callous
  • Assessment with your Podiatrist to review your biomechanics (A gait analysis of why this may be occurring).
  • Implementing orthotics to offload the region
  • Wearing closed-toe shoes/slippers
  • Applying a 15% urea based emollient on heels

What is a corn?

A corn is a distinctively shaped callus that forms in a cone shape. Corns can form on toes, in between toes, the soles of your feet and on your heels. They can also be very painful to touch and worsen on compression or pressure from specific footwear. Corns are generally harmless, however, quite painful. A Podiatrist should check people with underlying conditions, including peripheral neuropathy and diabetes. 


  • A hard yellow/white deep, more focal and painful area on your foot 
  • Sore on direct palpation or walking on 
  • Corns in between toes may be painful if the shoe is too narrow


  • Enucleation of a corn by a Podiatrist with a sterile blade (This is completed in a standard consult and isn’t painful!) 
  • Implementing orthotics to offload the pressure area of the corn 
  • Ensuring you wear shoes that have a wide and deep toe box
  • Offloading region with padding 

When to see a Podiatrist? 

  • If you are in pain 
  • If you have any questions or concerns 
  • To have your feet assessed by a professional 

corns calluses blog

We are looking forward to seeing you in the clinic! To book an appointment today….. click here!

With summer fast approaching, check out our blog on how podiatry can get your feet ready for summer. CLICK HERE!

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