Calluses and corns are both types of thickened skin that can develop on the feet in areas of high pressure, but they are not the same thing.
Calluses are a build-up of skin cells that form on the bottom or sides of the feet, usually as a result of friction or pressure. They are typically found on the balls of the feet, heels, or toes, and are not usually very painful. Calluses can be unsightful and annoying. Calluses develop as a natural response to protect the skin from further damage and can often be managed at home with dedicated foot care, such as using a pumice stone to gently exfoliate the dead skin cells and regular moisturising with a urea based emollient. If the callus gets too thick, it can develop cracking, like cracked heels, and will most definitely require podiatry treatment to safely remove and debride all the overlying thickened skin, which will help heal the fissures/cracks.
Corns, on the other hand (or foot!) start off a bit like a callus does, developing in similar areas in response to pressure and/or friction. We most commonly see them present at a podiatry clinic as a painful bump as a result of ill-fitting shoes or from arthritic conditions like bunions and hammertoes. They can be very painful and require professional podiatric treatment to remove safely and without pain. Corns are usually smaller and more concentrated than calluses and may have a central core or “seed” which can be painful when pressed or squeezed. A podiatrist can enucleate the corn during a pain free podiatry consultation which will have you leaving feeling much lighter on your feet.
If you experience pain or inflammation or feel like you may have a painful corn or callus, it is important to see a podiatrist. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it is crucial to seek podiatry attention, as we are able to safely remove these, pain free.