Corns & Calluses
What are Corns & Calluses?
Corns & calluses are your body’s response to friction or pressure against the skin. If your foot rubs inside your shoe, the affected area of skin thickens. Prominent foot bones may also cause skin to rub. In response to the pressure, the outer layer of skin thickens to protect the foot. In many cases, corns & calluses may be unsightly, but they cause no harm. However, severe corns and calluses can become infected, destroy healthy tissue, or affect foot movement. With your doctor’s help, corns and calluses can be controlled.
Where Do Corns & Calluses Form?
A corn or callus is a thickening of the outer layer of skin on your foot. Corns usually grow on top of the foot, often at a toe joint. Calluses spread on the bottom of the foot or on the outer edge of a toe or the heel.
Corns can range from a slight thickening of skin to a painful, hard bump. They often form on top of buckled toe joints (hammer toes). If your toes curl under, corns may grow on the tips of the toes. You may also get a corn on the end of a toe if it rubs against your shoe. Corns can also grow between toes, often between the first and second toes.
A callus may spread across the ball of your foot. This type of callus is usually due to a problem with a metatarsal (the long bone at the base of a toe, near the ball of the foot). A pinch callus may grow along the outer edge of the heel or the big toe. Some calluses press up into the foot instead of spreading on the outside. A callus may form a central core or plug of tissue where pressure is greatest.
Your Physical Exam
Your doctor will check your feet for skin changes, such as red areas, blisters and warts. He or she will also look for corns and calluses. If you have a buckled toe joint, your doctor may test its flexibility. He or she may also look for a misaligned bone or collapsed joint. An x-ray may be taken to pinpoint a suspected bone problem.