Harrison Podiatry

Corns and Callus

When we walk or stand, our body weight is carried first on the heel and then on the ball of the foot, where the skin is thicker to withstand the pressure. Callus is an extended area of thickened skin, usually on the soles of the feet and round the heels and it is the body’s response to pressure or friction on the skin. It can, however, appear anywhere where the skin rubs against a bone, shoe or the ground.

Most callus formation is a symptom of an underlying problem, like a bony deformity or wearing inappropriate footwear. Some people have a natural tendency to form callus because of their skin type and elderly people often have less protective fatty tissue in their skin which leads to callus formation on the ball of the foot.


You can control a small amount of callus by gently rubbing with a pumice stone every time you take a bath. Rubbing a water based moisturising cream, like Aqueous Cream B.P. into the skin will also help. If the callus is burning and painful, you should consult your Podiatrist who will painlessly remove the callus and then apply soft padding to redistribute the weight and protect you. Your feet will feel much better immediately.


There are three common types of corns, hard corns, soft corns and seed corns.

Hard Corns - These are the most common type of corn and are generally caused by ill-fitting footwear. They appear as small, concentrated areas of very hard skin, up to the size of a pea, usually surrounded by an area of callus.

Soft Corns - These are usually caused by tight shoes and develop between the toes. They are white and rubbery in texture. They form most often between the fourth and fifth toes. They often become septic and will not heal until the correct footwear is worn.

Seed Corns - Seed corns can be found anywhere on the foot, but always seem to form on dry skin. The regular use of moisturising creams like Aqueous Cream B.P. can help immensely in preventing seed corn formation.


Diabetics and those with poor circulation should avoid self-treatment of hard and soft corns with corn remedies such as corn pads or corn paste. The use of these corn remedies often leads to sepsis or even worse. Those not at risk should also seek professional treatment for corn removal. Your Podiatrist can painlessly remove the corn and apply suitable padding to alleviate the pressure. You will immediately feel better and that smile will, once again, return to your face!