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What is the difference between a corn and a callus?

There’s a tender spot on your foot. You’re pretty sure it’s a corn, but you’ve never had one before…and it could just be a mark where your shoes rub against your toes. So, how can you begin to treat it if you’re not sure what it is?

While they both have a tendency to cause pain, there are a few general differences between calluses and corns: 

  • Calluses are flat areas of tough, thickened skin caused by repeated pressure or rubbing against your foot. They are your body’s way of protecting the inner layers of your skin; by turning the outer surface hard and tough, the inner tissues are less exposed to heat, cold, or penetration. Calluses are often found on the bottoms of the feet but can also form on the tops and sides of the feet and the heels—especially if there are seams inside your shoes that rub against your feet.Calluses can be removed with a pumice stone or by cutting away the dead skin. However, to prevent a number of complications that could result from removing too much skin or cutting too deeply, you may want to consider seeking the help of an experienced podiatrist. 
     
  • Corns are rounded bumps that often appear dry, waxy, or discolored. Like calluses, they are caused by excessive, repeated pressure on the foot. Unlike calluses, corns have a core that points inward. That core can press on nerves and cause intense pain. The thickening of the skin that occurs with both corns and calluses is called hyperkeratosis. Corns often can be treated with cushioned pads and proper footwear; if they persist, a doctor can remove them. Using an over-the-counter treatment that contains acid to treat a corn can result in damage to healthy tissue around the corn.
     

The team at Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates has years of experience treating corns in Philadelphia. We can help you kick your painful foot problem, so call either of our two locations and set up a consultation today. For our Media office, call 610-565-3668, and for our office in Phoenixville, call 610-933-8644.