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Why Do We Develop Corns and Calluses?

Corns and calluses are hypertrophied or built up, thickened skin whose role is to protect the area in question. Hyperkeratosis is the medical term for this buildup of dead skin tissue. It forms because of several reasons:

1) Abnormal pressure from the underlying bony structure (ie. a spur, hammertoe, or bunion).
2) Biomechanics, or the way we walk.
3) Friction and rubbing in the shoes we wear.

Corns are the hyperkeratosis that builds up on the top of the foot, usually the toes, and calluses are the hyperkeratosis that builds up on the bottom of the foot.

Should I be worried about my corns and calluses?

Generally, corns and calluses get along with us fairly well. Other than the appearance of the foot, most corns and calluses can be left alone. But, with pain, many patients are trying to remove these at home. To prevent serious cuts and infections, it is important to avoid removing your own corns and calluses at home or using medicated pads.


There are many treatment options for corns and calluses. Our podiatrists can evaluate the underlying cause of the corns and calluses and recommend the most appropriate treatment. While removing the corns or calluses will provide relief, if the underlying cause of the problem is not addressed, they will come back.

If you have diabetes or poor circulation, you should be seeing a podiatrist regularly to prevent the more serious complications that can arise because of these medical conditions.