Calluses and Corns: What’s the Difference?

In general, too much friction or pressure on your feet is not ideal. When either of these occurs, and the toes are bent out of place or circulation is limited, you may be prone to bunions, hammertoe, ulcers, and many other discomforts. Calluses and corns are two of the most common ailments that result from friction or pressure, and though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some important differences to note:


Calluses, or thickened skin, are typically larger in size and found on the underside of the foot on the heels, balls of the feet, or big toes. They may be painful if the nerves underneath the callus become inflamed, or if the thickened skin continues to rub against your footwear. The best way to prevent and treat calluses is to wear orthotic inserts or properly fitting footwear. You can also soak your foot in warm, soapy water and once the skin is soft, rub the callus with a pumice stone or file. In some cases, your podiatrist may recommend an injection or a medication.


A corn is much smaller in size than a callus. There are two types of corns: soft and hard. Soft corns are open sores that are most commonly found between the toes. Hard corns are typically found on the bony parts of the foot, such as the tops of toes or the outside of the little toe. Like calluses, they can be treated with inserts, footwear, or foot soaks. Placing foam pads between the corn and the footwear also provides relief.

A skilled doctor like board-certified podiatrist Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico will be able to identify the difference between a callus and a corn and determine the proper course of treatment. At Syracuse Podiatry, Dr. D’Amico can prescribe at-home treatments, or, in some cases, he may suggest a surgical solution. No matter your foot or ankle condition, the wonderful staff at Syracuse Podiatry is ready to help! Please contact us or call our Fayetteville office at (315) 446-3668 with any questions or to request an appointment!

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