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Corns & Calluses

What are Corns & Calluses?

callusCorns and callus are one of the most common problems seen by Podiatrists. They can occur on any part of the foot and vary in symptoms from a mild callus under the foot, to an infected ulcer that can develop under a corn on a toe. Other names for corns and callus are hyperkeratosis, clavus, heloma and tyloma).

Pathologically they are all the same – the skin has thickened in response to pressure. A callus generally refers to a more diffuse thickening of the skin (more common on the toes, but can occur under the ball of the foot) whereas a corn is a thicker more focal area area (more common on the toes). A corn can occur under and be surrounded by callus.

What Causes Corns & Calluses

Corns and callus are caused by one thing – TOO MUCH PRESSURE , usually in combination with some friction. There is no other way to get them – the pressure stimulates the skin to thicken to protect itself, but as the stimulation of the pressure continues, it becomes painful.

Too much pressure can be from causes such as:

  • footwear that is too tight
  • toe deformities, such as hammer toes – the top of the hammer toe is an area for increased pressure on the top of the toe
  • bony prominence
  • biomechanical or gait abnormalities that cause pressure under different areas of the bottom (plantar) surface of the foot (this is a common cause of callus)

As there are a whole range of problems that can result in a corn or callus, it is often good to consider that they are not really a condition at all, but are a symptom of an underlying condition.
Treatment of Corns & Calluses

Many times corns and calluses may be treated simply by having one of our podiatric physicians periodically debride the thickened tissue and apply special padding to alleviate the pressure. Orthotics can also be customized to relieve the pressure on the ball of the foot. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the hammertoe or metatarsal causing the corn or callus.