Corn and Calluses- Causes and Symptoms

I am sure all of you might have observed a peculiar type of thickening on the soles of your foot and the palms of your hand. These are usually called corn and calluses. These are thickened and compressed layers of skins that are naturally developed by the body. It is a natural immune response which the body produces in response to unnecessary and repeated friction and pressure over a single area.

What is the difference between corn and callus?

Although, both the conditions are often misunderstood and confused to be the same by individuals, they are very different.

1. Callosities :

Calluses are extremely painful thickening of skin. These are usually developed over a larger area than corns. The skin layer involved are also widespread in comparison to corns. The keratin layer present over the skin thickens when a lot of pressure is applied on it. These callosities are usually caused in response to an occupational condition. 

Also Read: All you Got to Know About Chicken Skin!

If you indulge in a desk job, continuous usage of the laptop leads to the development of callosities under the wrist area of your hand. This is due to continued friction under the wrist (due to typing constantly). These can develop under the heels or the ball of the sole of the feet, on knees or on your palm.

It is observed that callosities are usually larger in size and shape than corns.

2. Corns:

Corns are relatively smaller in size than callosities. These have a general structure which is common in all patients. It consists of a hard keratinized central core which is surrounded by a layer of skin which is pumped with histamine and blood vessels.

Due to the same, the skin appears to be highly inflamed. These appear usually on the parts where you apply local pressure during normal day to day activities. These develop usually between the bony parts of your leg and the shoes.

These areas usually don’t bear the majority of weight i.e. top and sides of your sole. It also occurs on the side of toes.

Apart from these, weight bearing area might also be diagnosed with corns. Corns can be painful whenever you try to push the keratin core inside.

Special care is needed when a corn is developed in a patient of diabetes. These patients are at a greater risk of infection and ulcer formation.

Cause of Corns and Callosities

Although, the skin of our legs and hands are pretty well developed to withstand huge levels of pressure and friction, there are times at which they would give in.

These are usually caused by:

  • You should always wear socks during a normal day (especially when you have a job which involves a lot of movement). Socks are specially designed to reduce the high friction produced between the rough surface of your skin and the soft surface of the shoe. Do not go commando on your shoes to avoid these.
  • The corns are repeated mainly in females wearing high heels with a high incline ratio almost daily. These can cause the concentration of pressure on a single area, resulting into the thickening of skin.

I hope this article helps you to understand the condition associated and the causes of the same!

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.