What are Corns and Calluses?

Corns and calluses are protective layers of compacted, dead skin cells. They build up at points of pressure and over bony prominences where there is pressure from the skin rubbing up against the bony areas or in a shoe. Calluses will form on the bottom and side of the foot, while corns form on the top of the foot and between the toes.

Corns are smaller than calluses and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns will develop on areas that are not weight-bearing, such as the tops and sides of your toes. They will be painful and have a dull ache when pressure is applied.

Calluses will develop on the soles of the feet, in particular on the heels or balls of the foot. They are rarely painful and vary in size and shape.


  • Thick, rough area of skin
  • A hardened, raised bump
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Flaky, dry or waxy skin


  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Not wearing socks / Ill-fitting socks


Treatment is only necessary if the corns and calluses cause discomfort. For most individuals, removing the source of friction or pressure makes the corns and calluses disappear. However, if you have diabetes or poor circulation of the feet, see a podiatric physician to treatment options since you’re at a greater risk of complications.


  1. The American Podiatric Medical Association
  2. The Mayo Clinic