The Difference Between a Corn and a Callus

Corns and calluses both form in response to irritation or friction. That’s because they’re your body’s way of protecting your skin from injury. However, even though they both cause hard, tough patches of skin on your feet, they are unique conditions.

Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle has the expertise to examine the condition of your feet. After reaching an accurate diagnosis, our team can also recommend the best course treatment for your corns or calluses.

How corns and calluses differ

While these foot problems may sound the same, they’re two different issues.

What is a corn?

Corns are small circles of hard skin that can eventually develop skin lesions or cuts that are deep and thick. They can form on the bottoms of your feet or the tops or sides of your feet or toes. Corns can become uncomfortable as they thicken, and they will cause pain if they get infected.

What is a callus?

Instead of being small and round, calluses often have a hard, flat, widespread thickness. In most cases, they’re also larger than corns and appear yellow in color. Calluses have little — if any — sensitivity when touched.

How to avoid getting corns and calluses

The first step in avoiding these common problems is always wearing footwear that fits comfortably and properly. You don’t want to walk or run in shoes that cause friction, rubbing, or unwanted pressure on your feet or wear socks or stockings that bunch up in your shoes.

Additional ways to prevent corns and calluses include:

You should also take time to examine your feet on a regular basis to make sure you aren’t developing any areas of concern. Taking these steps can help keep your feet healthy and ward off problems before they begin.

Finding relief for corns and calluses

If you already have a corn, you may have success with at-home treatments, like over-the-counter corn plasters. These thick, rubber rings come with an adhesive surface designed to stick to your foot and protect the area from irritation or friction. If you have a callus, you can find callus pads that work in the same way.

To eliminate corns and calluses at home, we recommend soaking your feet in warm water for at least 20 minutes. Then, gently rub the tough areas with a pumice stone, which sloughs off dead skin.

When at-home remedies fall short, or if your corn or callus is causing pain, we can treat your feet according to the severity of your condition. If you have diabetes, come in to see a member of our team for wound care so you don’t risk a dangerous infection. 

Medical interventions for corns and calluses often include:

Our team can also help with custom orthotics. These shoe inserts can help pad areas of your feet and correct foot issues leading to skin irritation.

You don’t have to suffer if you have corns or calluses; we can help. Contact one of our four convenient locations in Wheat Ridge, Evergreen, Arvada, or Granby, Colorado, to schedule an appointment today.

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