Corns And Calluses: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Corns and calluses are thickened, harder layers of skin that form as the skin attempts to protect itself from friction or pressure.

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: May 24, 2023 18:12 IST
Corns And Calluses: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

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Corns and calluses are two common foot problems that can be uncomfortable and painful if left untreated. These conditions are usually caused by pressure or friction on the skin of the feet, and they often develop in response to ill-fitting footwear, prolonged standing or walking, or other foot deformities.

Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that develop on the feet as a natural protective response to repeated pressure or friction. Corns are usually small and hard, and they often form on the tops and sides of the toes, while calluses are larger and more diffuse, and they can form on any part of the foot that is subjected to pressure or friction.

To know more about corn and calluses, the OnlyMyHealth editorial team reached out to Dr Amit Bangia, Associate Director – Dermatology, Asian Hospital Faridabad. 

Symptoms Of Corns and Calluses

Depending on where they are and how bad they are, corns and calluses can have a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms consist of:

  • Thickened or hardened skin
  • Pressure on the affected region causes pain or tenderness
  • Discolouration of the skin
  • Rough, dry, or flaky skin

Is There Any Treatment For Corns And Calluses?

Treatment for corns and calluses usually involves removing the thickened skin and reducing pressure or friction on the affected area. Some treatment options include:


Paring is a common treatment for corn and calluses. It involves the removal of the thickened skin using a sterile scalpel or pumice stone. Paring helps to reduce the size of the corn or callus and relieve pressure and discomfort.

Also read: How to Cure Corns and Calluses

Salicylic acid

According to Dr Bangia, salicylic acid is a common ingredient found in over-the-counter medications for corns and calluses. It works by softening the thickened skin, making it easier to remove with paring or gentle rubbing. 


Using cushioning pads or inserts can help relieve pressure on corns and calluses. These pads can be purchased over-the-counter and are typically made of soft, cushioning materials that provide a barrier between the affected area and footwear, reducing friction and pressure. 

Proper footwear

Wearing well-fitting shoes with a wide toe box and good arch support can help prevent the development of corns and calluses. 


In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. This may be recommended if the corn or callus is particularly large, or painful, or if other conservative treatments have been ineffective. Surgical options may include excision of the corn or callus, or correction of underlying structural abnormalities, such as bone spurs or hammertoes, that may be contributing to the formation of the corn or callus.

Also read: Summer Foot Care: Tips To Keep Your Feet Healthy

Prevention of Corns and Calluses

Using shoe insoles or orthotics can lessen stress and friction on the feet. Other recommendations for avoiding corns and calluses include:

  • Avoiding high-heeled shoes or wearing them only for short periods
  • Limiting activities that involve prolonged standing or walking
  • Maintaining good foot hygiene and keeping the skin moisturised
  • Regularly inspecting the feet for signs of corns, calluses, or other foot problems and seeking prompt treatment if any issues are identified

Corns and calluses are usually caused by pressure or friction on the skin of the feet, and they often develop in response to poorly fitting footwear or foot deformities. Follow the above mentioned prevention tips for happy feet!

It's important to consult a qualified doctor, such as a podiatrist or dermatologist, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan for corns and calluses. Treatment options may vary depending on the severity of the condition, underlying health conditions, and individual circumstances.