What are corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are firm, hard, and thick layers of skin. They form when the skin is trying to protect itself from pressure and friction. Most of the time, corns and calluses develop on the toes and feet or the fingers and hands. They can be very unpleasant in appearance.
When a person is healthy, treatment is only necessary for corns and calluses if they cause pain or discomfort. If whatever is causing the pressure or friction is removed, the corns and calluses will disappear most of the time.
Certain medical conditions such as diabetes that reduce the blood flow to the feet place a person at an increased risk for complications related to corns and calluses. People who have conditions like this should see their doctor to treat any skin condition involving the feet.
Corns and calluses risks
Certain conditions and factors can increase the likelihood of the development of corns and calluses. These include:
- Having a bunion. This is an unnatural hard bump of bone that develops at the base of the big toe.
- Having a hammertoe. It is unnatural curling of the toes that can create pressure or friction, leading to corns and calluses.
- Other certain foot conditions. Certain foot deformities and conditions, like bone spurs, can create friction or pressure and cause foot corns and calluses.
- Lack of protection for the feet and hands. Corns and calluses can develop when the hands and feet are exposed to too much friction, like wearing improper shoes or using tools without gloves.
Causes of the corns and calluses
Friction caused by repeated motion and excessive pressure can result in the development of corns and calluses, and it promotes their growth once they are present.
The most common causes of foot corns and calluses include:
- Shoes that don’t fit. Shoes that are too tight put pressure on the foot, and high heels force the foot forward into the smallest part of the shoe box, compressing the foot. Loose shoes can allow the foot to slide around or up and down inside the shoe. Sometimes shoes have stitching or seams on the inside, which rubs against the foot. These conditions can cause corns and calluses to form.
- No socks. Footwear worn without socks may create excessive friction. Socks that do not fit can also cause problems with corns and calluses.
Causes of hand corns and calluses include:
- Using tools or playing instruments. The cause of calluses on hands and fingers is pressure from working with hand tools, playing instruments, or even writing.