What Causes Corns & Calluses?
Corns and calluses are the end result a buildup of thick, hard areas of skin. While these hardening areas of skin can form elsewhere on the body, you’ll most often see them form on the feet, hands and fingers.
Generally speaking, calluses & corns develop from the repeated rubbing, friction, irritation and pressure exerted on the skin from shoes. Most commonly, the cause of corns on feet is ill-fitting shoes or sneakers that don’t fit properly. The good news is: most cases of corns or calluses can be prevented with a little attention and care.
Corns tend to appear round and small and are most likely to be seen on the tops and sides of the toes. Several types of corns are:
• Hard Corns
Small, hard dense areas of dry skin usually within a large area of thickened skin on the toes. Hard corns often form on the top of the toes (areas where there is bone/shoe pressure against the skin.)
• Seed Corns
These corns usually form on the bottom of the feet are small.
• Soft Corns
Typically gray or whitish in color, these corns are softer and generally rubbery in texture. Soft corns usually appear between the toes of the foot.
Calluses are defined as thick, dry and hard patches of skin. Compared with corns, calluses have are larger and more irregular shape to them. Calluses are most likely to be seen on the bottoms of the feet, and on the bony areas that are weight bearing: the big toe, heel, ball of foot and along the sides of the foot. The hardened layers of the skin caused by corns and calluses are the body’s protective way of protecting the skin from irritation and pressure.Worth noting: some degree of calluses forming on the bottom of the feet is typical and should be considered normal.
Calluses are also generally seen on hands as well. As an example, calluses often form in areas of repeated friction or rubbing: the tips of fingers of guitar players, or the hands of construction workers.
Did you know you’re more likely to develop corns or calluses if:
- You are a cigarette smoker.
- You walk without socks on your feet.
- You wear shoes that are too narrow for your feet.
- You have pre-existing medical conditions that change the normal alignment of the bones in your feet: arthritis in your feet, bone spurs or hammertoes.
Untreated calluses and corns may become larger in size so it is advisable to address the condition that caused them. They can also become infected, which can make walking difficult and painful. In this instance, medical or surgical treatment may be required.