You may have a corn or callus if you notice:

  • A thick, rough area of skin
  • A hardened, raised bump
  • Tenderness or pain under your skin
  • Flaky, dry or waxy skin

Corns and calluses are often confused, but they're not the same thing:

  • Corns are smaller than calluses and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns tend to develop on parts of your feet that don't bear weight, such as the tops and sides of your toes, though they can also be found in weight-bearing areas. Corns can even develop between your toes. Corns can be painful when pressed.
  • Calluses usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knees. Calluses are rarely painful and vary in size and shape, though they're often larger than corns.

When to see a doctor

If a corn or callus becomes very painful or inflamed, see your doctor. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, call your doctor before self-treating corns or calluses because even a relatively minor injury to your foot could lead to an infected open sore (foot ulcer) that's difficult to heal.

Apr. 05, 2011