Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that develop to protect that area from pressure and irritation. They can occur when something such as a shoe rubs against the foot repeatedly or causes excessive pressure against part of the foot. It is called a callus commonly if the thickening of skin occurs on the bottom of the foot. If thickening occurs on the top of the foot or toe it is usually called a corn. However, there is quite a lot of overlap between a corn and a callus. They are not contagious but can become painful if they become too thick. In people with diabetes this can lead to more serious foot problems, so they need to be taken seriously.
Corns often occur where a toe rubs against the inside of a shoe or there is a toe deformity. Excessive pressure on the balls of the feet, which is common in women who often wear high heels may cause calluses to develop under the balls of the feet. Those with certain deformities of the foot, such as hammer toes, claw toes, or bunions are prone to corns and calluses. Corns and calluses typically have a rough dull looking appearance. They can be raised or rounded and without proper assessment, they can be hard to differentiate from warts. If you have a corn or callus that is causing pain and discomfort or interfering with your daily activities then it is probably a good idea to see a podiatrist. This is even more important if you have diabetes or poor circulation. The podiatrist will conduct a complete examination of your feet and your footwear and assess the way you walk to determine why you have the corns and callus. For mild corns or calluses they may suggest changing your shoes and use padding to your shoes. If they are larger, then the podiatrist may reduce them with a surgical blade to carefully and skilfully shave away the thickened skin. Additional treatments may be needed if the corn or callus recurs.