Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are the most common medical conditions on the skin of the foot seen by podiatrists. A corn is a thickening of the outer layer of skin, which generally occurs on the tops of the toes. Calluses, which are the same condition on the bottom of the feet, are caused by shearing pressures. Corns and calluses are the foot’s defense against friction and pressure. These conditions are usually painful but can respond to conservative care from the podiatrist.

Corns and calluses on the foot or toes can be diagnosed and treated quickly and successfully (without surgery) by the podiatrist, Board Certified Podiatric Surgeon, David P. Rosenzweig, DPM.


  • Caused by pressure and footwear
  • Sometimes pressure can become uneven and friction occurs on certain areas of the foot
  • Increased pressure and friction causes the body to produce a thickening layer of skin, which does not shed
  • They are a defense mechanism to protect the underlying tissue
  • If the cause of the increased pressure is not relieved, then calluses can become painful
  • Often found on the balls of the feet and on the heels
  • Are painless when removed by a podiatrist

Misalignment or a dropped or long metatarsal may require trimming, padding, a biomechanical orthotic, or surgical realignment to eliminate pain from the callus. A severe form of a callus is called an IPK (Intractable Plantar Keratosis) and may require surgery.

Additionally, if you have diabetes or another medical condition that causes poor circulation to your feet, you are at greater risk of complications and you should seek regular treatment by Dr. Rosenzweig.


  • Pressure in a concentrated area will cause skin build-up on a toe, known as a corn
  • “Hard” corns develop on the top of a hammer toe due to misalignment
  • “Soft” corns develop between the toes, due to moisture and are often caused by bone spurs
  • Corns develop due to footwear and the toes rubbing from friction
  • Can be associated with inflammation around the area
  • Can cause pain, swelling, and redness

Infected corns or calluses that are not treated will become painful and will require the medical attention of a foot doctor.