Callus and Corns

What is the difference?

A callus is an area of thickened hard skin, which is formed in response to excessive pressure. Callus can be painful on direct pressure, especially in shoes and can create a burning sensation in the area. Callus can be caused by faulty foot mechanics; in response to a foreign body or wound under the skin; tight fitting footwear; or skin pathology. For some people, it is simply in their genetics to be more prone to developing callus. A corn is a hard seed-like formation of skin that develops as a result of pressure, and often causes pain. Corns commonly occur between toes, under the ball of the feet and on the fifth toes. When they develop on top of the toes they are usually due to friction from ill-fitting footwear.


Treatment of the corn involves taking out the deep central core by debridement. Footwear advice and pressure deflection may prevent the corn from returning.

Please be aware that if the pressure or rubbing continues, the corn or callus is likely to gradually return. A regular appointment is sometimes required. Corn pads containing acid are not advisable and should NEVER be used by diabetics and those with diminished circulation.

Heel Fissures (Cracked Heels)

Heel fissures occur when the skin on the bottom, outer edge of the heel becomes hard and too dry. Heel fissures can become more dangerous if they become deep or infected, especially for people with diabetes or compromised immune systems. Moisturizing the feet regularly and using a pumice stone regularly can prevent heel fissures. Avoid going barefoot or wearing open-backed shoes. Your podiatrist can debride the hard callused skin and give advice to ensure the cracked skin does not become infected and painful.

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