Common Foot Problems

Corns and Calluses

A callus is an area of hard, thickened skin on the foot that forms in response to pressure or friction, usually through poor-fitting shoes. When pressure is concentrated in a small area, a corn, which has a central core, may develop. If the pressure is not relieved, calluses and corns can become painful.

Common sites of corns and calluses are the ball of the foot, under the big toe, tips of toes and any bony prominence. ‘Soft’ corns may develop between the toes, where the skin is moist from sweat or inadequate drying. Sometimes, the pressure of the corn or callus may cause inflammation, which can result in pain, swelling and redness.

Symptoms of corns and calluses

  • The symptoms can include:
  • Thickened patch of hard skin on the foot
  • Hard, small bump of skin that may have a central core
  • White and rubbery bumps of skin (‘soft’ corns)
  • Pain when pressure or friction is applied to the area.

Treatment for corns and calluses

The body protects skin tissues from pressure or friction damage by producing an area of hard skin. So unless the cause of the pressure or friction is found and removed, calluses and corns will continue to form. Over-the-counter treatments, such as corn plasters, can damage the healthy surrounding skin if you use them incorrectly. Never try to cut away or scrape a callus, as there is a risk of infection if you accidentally cut yourself.

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