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Hard Skin, Calluses and corns – All You Need to Know

Hard skin, calluses and corns are common on feet and toes. Most of us will have experienced these things at some point.

Why Do We Get Hard Skin, Calluses and Corns?

Our feet carry us around all day. Walking, exercising, running errands, working, even climbing stairs! All of this puts pressure on feet. A new pair of shoes may cause strain for our feet, and even ill-fitting socks can be troublesome.

Hard skin and calluses are caused by rubbing. The skin forms a hard barrier to protect itself against trauma. Although they are unpleasant, areas of hard skin are rarely a cause for concern.


A corn is a tiny yellow/white rough patch of hard skin that often has a centre made up of dead skin. They can be soft or hard. Soft corns are usually found between toes, and sweat causes them to soften. Hard corns are often in the soles of the feet or on top of the toes.

Corns can be uncomfortable to touch and make walking awkward or even painful.


Calluses are usually bigger than corns, with thick, hard skin blending into normal skin at the sides. They rarely cause pain unless they are in an awkward spot that causes rubbing. They often form under toes and on the soles of feet.

A callus is often smoother and can be brown, yellow or grey.

Risk Factors for Hard Skin, Calluses and Corns

Shoes – Shoes that do not fit properly can cause pressure and discomfort. If the shoes are too small, they may cause toes to bunch up and rub. If they are too big, your feet may slide around or swell. High heeled shoes and flip flops are common culprits.

Exercises – Activities such as sports, running and dancing put a lot of pressure on the feet. Sweaty and swollen feet may develop corns or calluses.

Bone Issues – A person suffering from bone deformities such as bunions or hammer toes are more likely to develop hard skin, calluses and corns.

How to Treat Corns and Calluses

If your hard skin, corn or callus is not causing pain or discomfort, it will not do you harm to leave it. However, anything that causes pain or discomfort should be treated.

Some people prefer to treat these conditions as they do not like how they make the feet look.

Contact a podiatry specialist, such as Louisa Seymour Podiatry to discuss treatment options.

If you wish to treat hard skin at home, you can take a few steps.

  • Determine the cause and change it
  • Wash and dry your feet daily
  • Use a pumice stone.
  • Apply moisturising cream to the area.
  • Use protective pads for corns and calluses
  • Invest in insoles or heel pads

Contact Louisa Seymour Podiatry on 01277 266870.

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