Corns and calluses are areas of hard, thickened skin. They develop when the skin is exposed to a lot of pressure or friction. They commonly occur on the feet and can cause pain and discomfort.


Corns are small circles of thick skin. They usually develop on the tops and sides of toes or on the sole of the foot, but they can occur anywhere.

Corns are often caused by wearing shoes that are not a good fit, shoes that are too loose can allow your foot to slide and rub.

Certain shoe designs that put excessive pressure on an area of the foot for example, high-heeled shoes can squeeze the toes.

Corns often occur on bony feet as there is a lack of natural cushioning. They can also develop as a symptom of another foot problem.


Calluses are hard, rough areas of skin that are often yellowish in colour. They can develop on the:

Feet, usually around the heel area or on the skin under the ball of the foot

Palms of the hands and knuckles

Calluses are larger than corns. They do not have such a well-defined edge. As callused skin is thick, it is often less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin.

Calluses develop when the skin rubs against something, such as a bone, a shoe or the ground. They often form over the ball of your foot. This is because this area takes most of your weight when you walk.

Activities that put repeated pressure on the foot, such as running or walking barefoot, can cause calluses to form. Athletes are particularly susceptible to them.

Treatment of corns and calluses

Corns on feet will not get better unless the cause of the pressure is removed.

A corn is a symptom of an underlying problem. You should only treat it yourself if you know the cause and you have spoken to a specialist about the best way to manage it.

Over-the-counter treatments for corns, such as corn plasters, are available from pharmacists.

Corn plasters may not be suitable for certain people, such as those with diabetes, circulation problems, or fragile skin.

If you have a condition such as diabetes, you should get in touch with Sandsclinic who should be able to help you with foot care.