Your Corns Are Not Calluses

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Corns v. CallusesThere are plenty of look-alikes in nature. There are bugs that look like twigs and flies that look like bees. Some fish resemble rocks, while others look like seaweed. Even people can look alike, giving rise to doppelganger pictures and celebrity impersonators. Looking alike, however, doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t the same thing. This is also true for skin problems that affect your feet. Even though corns and calluses can appear similar, they aren’t the same things.

It’s true, corns and calluses are similar in many ways. They both form under excessive pressure and friction against the skin on your feet. They both create discolored patches of skin that can sometimes be painful. Despite all these similarities, though, they are different and affect your feet in slightly different ways.

Corns are small patches of thickened, dried out skin that tends to form a raised bump. They often have a hard center and appear waxy. The skin around them may be inflamed and they can be quite uncomfortable when you put pressure on them. Generally they develop in non-weight bearing parts of your feet, like the toes, tops, and sides. It is possible for them to be in weight-bearing areas, though. They are not helpful in any way and can actually make wearing shoes very uncomfortable for you.

Calluses, however, develop in weight-bearing areas like the heel and the ball of the foot. As a result they tend to be larger and flatter, creating patches instead of bumps. They may not cause pain at all, simply protecting these areas from too much friction. Calluses do become problems when they are too thick, dry out and crack, or grow in and press against soft tissues. They might also be a problem for anyone at risk for foot ulcers.

While corns and calluses are close “cousins,” they aren’t exactly the same. You might not need to do anything about your calluses—at least, not until they cause trouble. Corns, however, should be managed. They might even be a sign that your shoes are wrong for your feet. If you’d like help managing skin issues, or you’d like to know more about caring for corns or calluses, let our team know at Podiatry Associates, P.C. Simply call (303) 805-5156 or use the online request forms to reach our Cherry Creek in Denver, Castle Pines, and Parker, CO, locations.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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