What's the Difference Between a Corn and a Callus?

Do you have hardened round circles of raised skin on your feet? You might have corns and calluses that develop to protect your feet from irritation. In other words, they become a defense mechanism for an area of your foot that’s exposed to constant friction.

For example, when you walk and apply pressure to the ball of your foot repeatedly, or if your foot continues to rub against a spot on your shoe, your skin starts to thicken, which can cause a corn or a callus to develop.

At Optima Foot and Ankle in Bend, Oregon, Laura Schweger, DPM, and the rest of our team have the expertise to examine the condition of your feet and determine the right treatment for your corns and calluses.

The difference between corns and calluses

Although corns and calluses are usually mentioned as one in the same, they’re different.

Corns explained

Corns develop on the tops or sides of your feet or toes or on the soles of your feet. They’re small round circles of skin that can have skin lesions or cuts that are deep and thick. They typically don’t cause any pain unless they become infected.

Calluses explained

Calluses tend to have a hard, flat, widespread thickness. They’re usually larger than corns and yellow in color. They have little sensitivity to touch, if any at all.

How to prevent the development of corns and calluses

You should always examine your feet to make sure you aren’t developing any issues of concern. To maintain the health of your feet, be sure to wear shoes that fit comfortably and well. You don’t want to walk or run in footwear that causes rubbing, friction, or undue pressure on your feet.

Other ways to avoid corns and calluses include:

Taking proper precautions by protecting your feet can help you ward off corns and calluses.

Treatment for corns and calluses

You can treat your corns and calluses at home with over-the-counter corn plasters. These thick, rubber rings have an adhesive surface that sticks to your foot and protects the targeted area from friction or irritation. You can also purchase callus pads that work the same way.

Soaking your feet in warm water for at least 20 minutes and then gently rubbing your corns and calluses with a pumice stone can slough off dead skin and reduce their size.

If you need additional care other than at-home remedies, we treat your feet according to the severity of your condition. Medical care that offers relief includes prescription medications that can remove your corns and calluses, trimming your excess skin, or surgically correcting a misaligned bone that could be causing your skin to rub against other surfaces or bones. We can also prescribe shoe inserts to pad certain affected areas on your feet, if needed.

Don’t suffer with corns or calluses. We can help. Contact us at 541-383-3668 or book your appointment online, and if you’re a new patient who’s interested in our services, click here.

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