Everything you need to know about Calluses and Corns…

There’s that old saying “Out of sight, out of mind” and that is usually the case with corns and calluses on people’s feet, until they become painful… Pain is the number one reason a person may contact a podiatrist for help with corns or calluses. Of course, not all corns or calluses are painful and this rule doesn’t apply to people that regularly have their feet on display wearing open shoes or sandals, or that simply want their feet to look their best and will ask for help from a podiatrist.

What are corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are both skin lesions that present as harder and thickened skin. A corn presents as an even denser and harder area of skin compared to a callus and when on the foot or toes, it can feel as if you are standing on a small rock which can be quite painful.

What causes corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are skin lesions that appear in response to stress on the skin and can occur all over your body. They commonly occur on the feet simply because we walk on our feet and our feet are subject to more friction and pressure than other areas of our bodies. People who have certain repetitive behaviours such as kneeling regularly because of an occupational requirement may develop skin lesions like corns or calluses on their knees.

How can corns or calluses be treated?

Podiatrists and chiropodists are commonly known for gently and carefully removing corns and calluses with specialised instruments. The corns and calluses can be removed within minutes and can provide immediate relief of pain and more aesthetically appealing feet within one session. This is a short term management strategy for corns and calluses as it addresses the symptom of the increased pressure and friction which causes the lesions.

Long term management or even resolution of corns and calluses can be achieved by considering the cause of the lesions further. This is different for every person as just like a fingerprint, we all have unique ways of walking and moving. For example, a person may have a corn on one foot and not the other or someone may experience calluses on their second toes but not their other toes. In these cases a biomechanical assessment is needed to understand the unique reasons as to why a person may be experiencing more stress on a certain area of skin underneath their foot. When a biomechanical reason is identified, the podiatrist will then recommend a management plan that will often consist of either footwear recommendation, orthotic therapy, exercise prescription or some of or all of these management options combined.

For more information on biomechanical assessments and orthotic therapy, you can learn more here:

Written by:
Daniel Monteleone,
Podiatrist,  Strength and Conditioning Coach,

Foot & Ankle Pain
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