Foot corns and calluses are areas of thick, dry skin that develop when the skin is exposed to excessive pressure or friction. They are very common foot problems that can cause pain when you walk.
Foot corns are small circles of thick skin that usually develop on the tops and sides of toes. Hard corns (most common). These are pea-sized and have a small, hard plug of skin in the centre. The plug can press into the skin and cause pain and swelling. Hard corns often occur over a bony area such as the little toe. Soft corns. These are whitish and rubbery in texture and appear between the toes where the skin is moist from sweat or trapped moisture. They are extremely painful and can sometimes become infected by bacteria or fungi.
Corns are often seen on the feet of women who wear badly fitting shoes or who stand a lot during the day.
They can also occur on bony feet or as a symptom of other foot problems, such as a bunion (bony swelling at the base of the big toe) or hammer toe (where the toe is bent at the middle joint).
Calluses are hard, yellowy or pale areas of skin that can feel rough. They are often wider and larger than a corn and do not have such a defined edge.
Calluses can appear where the skin rubs against something, such as a bone, a shoe or the ground. They often form over the ball of your foot, which takes a lot of your weight when you walk (especially when you wear high-heeled shoes). Because the skin is thick, it can be less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin.
Calluses can also occur on the side of the foot, palms and knuckles.