Table of Contents
- What are corns and calluses?
- Why do corns and calluses develop?
- When should you seek professional treatment for corns or calluses?
- Corns and Calluses At A Glance
- Corns and Calluses FAQ
What are corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are annoying and sometimes painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas of pressure. The medical term for the thickened skin that forms corns and calluses is hyperkeratosis. A callus refers to a more diffuse, flattened area of thick skin, while a corn is a thick, localized area that usually has a conical or circular shape. Corns, also known as helomas, sometimes have a dry, waxy, or translucent appearance.
Corns and calluses occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Corns can be painful to walk on, even when they are small.
Common locations for corns are:
- on the sole, over the metatarsal arch (the “ball” of the foot);
- on the outside of the fifth (small or “pinky”) toe, where it rubs against the shoe; and
- between the fourth and fifth toes. Unlike other corns that are firm and flesh-colored, corns between the toes are often whitish and messy; they are sometimes called “soft corns” (heloma molles), in contrast to the more common “hard corns” (heloma durums) found in other locations.
Why do corns and calluses develop?
Hyperkeratosis simply means thickening of the skin; this thickening occurs as a natural defense mechanism that strengthens the skin in areas of friction or pressure. Abnormal anatomy of the feet, such as hammer toe or other toe deformities, can lead to corn or callus formation as can bony prominences in the feet. Footwear that is too tight or that exerts friction at specific points can also cause skin thickening that leads to corns and calluses. Abnormalities in gait or movement that result in increased pressure to specific areas can also be the cause.
It can be hard to know why finger corns develop since they often don’t appear at sites of obvious pressure. Finger calluses may develop in response to using tools, playing musical instruments, or using work equipment that exerts pressure at specific sites.
When should you seek professional treatment for corns or calluses?
If the corn bothers you and doesn’t respond to salicylic acid and trimming, you might consider seeing a physician or podiatrist who can physically pare corns with scalpels. Podiatrists also can measure and fit you with orthotic devices to redistribute your weight on your feet while you walk so that pressure from the foot bones doesn’t focus on your corns. (Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one size fits all and may not be effective.)
People with fragile skin or poor circulation in the feet (including many people with diabetes or peripheral arterial disease) should consult their health-care practitioner as soon as corns or calluses develop. Further, you should seek medical care immediately if corns or calluses show signs of infection (such as increasing pain, the presence of pus or other drainage, swelling, and redness).
Surgery for corns is rarely necessary. When a corn is surgically removed, the pressure that caused it to form in the first place will just make it come back if this pressure is not removed or reduced. When necessary, surgery for corns involves shaving the underlying bone or correcting any deformity that is causing undue pressure or friction on the skin.
Corns and Calluses At A Glance
- Corns and calluses are annoying and sometimes painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas of pressure.
- Corns and calluses can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the hands and feet.
- Corns and calluses can be treated with many types of medicated products to chemically pare down the thickened, dead skin.
- People with fragile skin or poor circulation in the feet (including many people with diabetes or peripheral arterial disease) should consult their health-care practitioner as soon as corns or calluses develop.
Corns and Calluses FAQ
If you would like an appointment / review with our foot corns & calluses specialist in Singapore, the best way is to call +65 6664 8135 or click here to book an appointment at the clinic. If you would like to speak to one of our clinicians first e.g. to find out the foot corn/callus removal cost, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS/WhatsApp to +65 6664 8135
Rest assured that the best possible care will be provided for you.