Is It a Corn or a Callus?

Your feet are excellent at holding up under pressure. They help you get everywhere you need to go, even if you keep them confined in shoes most of the day. But every once in a while, they can run into problems.

Corns and calluses — two of the most common foot problems — can develop as the result of a separate foot problem — such as hammertoes — tight shoes, or high heels. If you’ve noticed thickened or hardened skin developing on your foot, you probably have either a corn or a callus.

But which one is it? You can make an appointment with Kyle Durfey, DPM, and Brian Hiapo, DPM, at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center in Laveen, Arizona to find out and get treatment for your corn or callus. But, to help you understand what you may have before you go in, you can use this guide. 

Understanding corns and calluses

Both corns and calluses develop in specific areas as a way to protect your foot against pressure, friction, or injury. They’re essentially a defense mechanism your body deploys.

Corns and calluses are thickened, hard skin. If you notice them developing, check your shoes. Thickening skin where your shoes rub is a sign that you should get roomier footwear. 

The difference between corns and calluses

While corns and calluses are similar, they’re not exactly the same. Let’s look at the key differences:

Size and shape

Corns are usually rounded and well-defined. Calluses are often larger with irregular shapes and less defined edges. 


Calluses don’t hurt when pressed, while you might feel a painful sensation if you apply pressure to a corn.  


Calluses are most common in weight-bearing parts of your feet, such as the balls of your feet or the bottom edges of your toes. Corns often develop on parts of your feet that don’t bear weight. 

Defined center

Corns usually have a noticeable center. The center may be hard. Calluses don’t have this feature. 

Treating corns and calluses

You can treat mild corns and calluses at home. Soak your feet and gently apply a pumice stone to buff away the thickened skin. It’s important that you never try to cut out a callus or corn at home. Doing so can lead to a serious foot infection.

If your corn or callus is painful, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center. Dr. Hiapo and Dr. Durfey can apply topical medication to peel away the corn or callus without damaging your foot. They can also discuss your footwear — such as getting orthotics or different shoes — to prevent the development of calluses and corns in the future.

To get care for a callus or corn, book an appointment online or over the phone with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center today.

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