Corns and calluses are areas of hard, thickened skin that develop when the skin is exposed to excessive pressure or friction. They commonly occur on the feet and can cause pain and discomfort when weightbearing/ walk.
Corns are small circular areas of thickened skin that usually develop on the tops and sides of toes or on the sole of the foot. However, they can occur anywhere. Corns often occur on bony areas of the foot as there is a lack of natural cushioning. They can also develop as a symptom of another foot problem, such as a bunion (a bony swelling at the base of the big toe) or a hammer toe.
There are various types of corns:
Hard Corns (Heloma Durum) are the most common and they appear as small, concentrated areas of hard skin or callus with a central cone shaped nucleus which presses down into the underlying skin. They are often found on the ball of the foot, tops or sides of the toes. They are caused through excessive pressure, friction or rubbing of the skin usually over a bony prominence on the foot, and is the body’s natural protective response to injury.
Seed Corns are much smaller in size, appearing as dots, usually situated on the bottom of the foot. They can be painless but occasionally can be problematic and require the treatment and advice a professional foot health practitioner.
Soft Corns, (Heloma Molle) are usually found between the toes, as the name suggests they are softer but still have a central nucleus which can cause severe pain between the toes when you walk.
Calluses are hard, rough areas of skin that are often yellowish in colour. They can develop on your foot, most often around the heel area or over the ball of the foot.
Calluses are larger than corns and do not have such a well-defined edge. As callused skin is thick, it is often less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin.
Calluses develop when the skin rubs against something, such as a bone, a shoe or the ground. They often form over the ball of your foot because this area takes most of your weight when you walk. This is particularly the case in women who regularly wear high heels.