Corns & Callus

Callus (or callosity) is an extended area of thickened, hard skin on the soles of the feet. It is usually symptomatic of an underlying problem such as a bony deformity, a particular style of walking or inappropriate footwear. Some people have a natural tendency to form callus because of their skin type. Elderly people have less fatty tissue in their skin and this can lead to callus forming on the ball of the foot.

 

Corns are caused by pressure or friction over bony areas, such as a joint, and they have a central core which may cause pain if it presses on a nerve. There are five different types of corns, the most common of which are ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ corns:

  • Hard corns – these are the most common and appear as a small area of concentrated hard skin up to the size of a small pea usually within a wider area of thickened skin or callus. This may be a symptom of the feet or toes not functioning properly. 

  • Soft corns – these develop in a similar way to hard corns but they are whitish and rubbery in texture and appear between toes where the skin is moist from sweat or from inadequate drying. 

  • Seed corns – these are tiny corns that tend to occur either singly or in clusters on the bottom of the foot and are usually painless. 

  • Vascular/neurovascular corns – these are corns that have both nerve fibres and blood vessels in them. They can be very painful and can bleed profusely if cut. 

  • Fibrous corns – these arise when corns have been present for a long time and are more firmly attached to the deeper tissues than any other type of corn. They may also be painful. 

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