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    Corns and Calluses: What’s the Difference?

    Published on January 12th, 2021

    Corns and calluses are among the most common foot ailments a person may experience. We often see these issues in patients who stand or walk for many hours as part of their job or hobby. Left alone, either condition can become increasingly painful and difficult to walk on. Our foot care specialists can help treat both at our podiatrist’s office in Lake Zurich.

    What Corns and Calluses Have in Common

    These two ailments are easily confused—and for good reason: corns and calluses have a lot in common! Both corns and calluses are caused by friction and/or pressure. Corns and calluses are both made of dead, compacted skin cells. Consistently wearing ill-fitting shoes or standing or walking for extended periods of time can cause and worsen both conditions.

    How Corns and Calluses Are Different

    Though calluses and corns are similar, there are key differences to look for in terms of appearance, sensation, location, and treatment. Furthermore, there are three distinct types of corns: hard corns, soft corns, and seed corns, each with its own features. When it comes to treating your corn or callus, it’s important to get the opinion of a foot care specialist.

    Appearance and Texture

    Calluses tend to be irregularly shaped, yellowish in color, and cover a larger area of the foot. By comparison, corns of all types are smaller, circular, and with more clearly defined edges. The center of the corn can be hard or soft to the touch, depending on its type.

    How They Feel

    Corns and calluses are not usually painful when they are just beginning to form, but with time corns can become increasingly irritating. Those with thick calluses on their feet may notice the opposite—a lack of sensation in the area. Developed corns may be tender to the touch and sensitive under pressure, especially around its raised edges.

    Where They Appear

    Calluses are more likely to appear on the bottom of the foot in the bony areas which carry a person’s weight (the heel, big toe, or ball of the foot). Soft corns tend to appear between the toes; hard corns on the side of the foot or top of the toes; and seed corns on the bottom of the foot.


    The right treatment for a corn or callus will vary depending on the type, area, severity, and cause of the issue. Most minor corns or calluses can be remedied with a change in footwear, special padding, or careful removal of the buildup. A recurring issue may be the cause of a physical deformity of the foot, which may need to be treated with surgery.

    Are You Experiencing Foot Pain?

    Our foot care specialists are standing by to help you achieve your greatest podiatric health. If you’re living with foot pain of any kind, scheduling an appointment at our office can help uncover the cause and prevent it from worsening. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

    Call for an Appointment (847) 540-9949