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What are Corns? What are Calluses?

Corns and calluses are abnormalities of the skin that often occur on the feet. Many people will develop at least one corn or callus on their feet over the courses of their lives. While the condition is usually not serious, a corn or a callus may be uncomfortable or embarrassing, leading people to seek treatment.

Corns and calluses are both marked by thick skin that often forms on the feet. Both types of foot problems are progressive, gradually developing over time. They are not contagious, so you don't have to worry about spreading them to your family.

How are Corns Different from Calluses?

Because their causes and treatments are similar, corns and calluses are often discussed together, but they are different types of problems:

Corns are very small, round patches of thick skin with a hard center area. Normally, the skin around the hard center is red and inflamed. Most often, corns develop on parts of the feet that do not bear weight, such as the tops and sides of the toes. Often, corns are painful to the touch.

Calluses are usually larger than corns and lack the hard center. The skin is usually equally thick throughout. On the feet, calluses normally form on the balls of the feet or the heels. They are usually not painful or tender.

What Causes Corns and Calluses?

Corns and calluses are both formed by pressure and friction. Learn more about possible causes of corns and calluses »

Treating Corns and Calluses

With the exception of people who have diabetes, people with calluses and corns normally do not need to treat them unless they are uncomfortable or their appearance is distressing.

Are you dealing with corns or calluses that have become uncomfortable or distressing? Learn more about treating corns and calluses »