Callus and Corns

Normally the body produces thickened skin in areas of the foot that take most pressure when we use our feet. This is the body’s natural response to protect the skin. The ball of the foot and the heel are the main areas. When this thickened skin is excessive we see corns and callus developing due to pressure, and also friction from movement.


Callus is thickened hard skin on the bottom of the feet. It is sometimes caused by a bony deformity in the feet, or the way a person walks. Some people have a natural tendency towards producing more callus or it can be caused by inappropriate footwear. Older people have less fatty tissue in their feet and to compensate callus can form especially on the ball of the foot.


Corns are an area of thickened skin with a central hard core, which can be very painful particularly if it presses on a nerve. The most common form of a corn is a hard corn, which usually develops within an area of callus. Soft corns are usually white in colour and appear between the toes. Seed corns are small single corns that appear singularly or in clusters on the bottom of the foot.

If corns have nerve or blood vessels in them they are called vascular or neurovascular corns. These are painful and may bleed when cut. A fibrous corn is a long-standing corn that is attached to deeper tissues.

Treatment Callus and Corns

Our podiatrists can treat corns and callus by reducing the amount of callus usually with a scalpel and taking the central core out of corns. They may use various types of padding or other devices to help relieve the pressure/friction that is causing the problem.

Occasionally an insole that is inserted into your shoe may be advised. This will adjust the alignment of your foot. A biomechanical assessment may be advised. It is important you wear shoes that are supportive and fit properly. Our podiatrists can advise you further on shoes.

Corns and callus tend to come back unless the cause of the excess pressure /friction can be addressed. You may need regular visits to keep the problem at bay.

College of Podiatry ‘Corns and Callus’
Accessed 15/04/2019.