Symptoms and Signs of Corns and Calluses

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 7/12/2022

Doctor's Notes on Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are skin conditions that consist of thickenings in the skin in areas of repeated pressure. They are typically located in the feet. Hyperkeratosis is the medical term for the thickened skin of corns and calluses. A callus describes a flatter, more diffuse area of thick skin, while corns are thick, localized bumps that usually have a papular, conical, or circular shape. Corns and calluses are caused by increased pressure. This can occur due to abnormal anatomy of the feet, bony prominences in the feet, poorly fitting footwear, or abnormalities in gait or movement.

In addition to thickened skin, other associated symptoms and signs can include pain (for corns) that may interfere with walking, and dry, flaky, or scaling skin.

What Is the Treatment for Corns and Calluses?

Treatments for corns and calluses may include one or more of the following measures:

  • Wearing properly fitted, comfortable shoes and socks
  • Soaking in warm water
  • Using moisturizer on affected areas
  • Use of shoe pads or inserts to relieve pressure
  • Medications containing salicylic acid
  • Removal of thickened skin with a scalpel, which should always be performed by a health care practitioner
  • Surgery, in rare cases

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.