Callous and corns develop as a result of skin thickening and hardening. It is possible since the body forms a protective barrier from injury by hardening the skin on certain areas of the body where pressure and friction are excessive. Callous and corns commonly occur on the hairless skin area of the hands, feet, and toes. The terms itself are often used interchangeably, following the almost-similar conditions between the two. Despite this, there are some differences between callous and corns on the foot. Telling the differences is essential to find out possible treatments for each skin problem on foot.
Differences between callouses and corns
The main difference you will be able to spot concerning callouses and corns on foot is on the size. Callouses are generally larger in size than corns. While corns are smaller than callouses—the common diameter is a quarter of an inch—callouses may measure twice or three times of a corn’s size. The location where both occur also affects how large the size will be.
The affected parts of the foot
Callouses usually develop on the heel or bottom of foot near the toes, on the palms, or the knees. Quite differently, the most common sites for corns are the top and sides of toes, or in between two toes.
The caused pain
Although callouses and corns may be physically alike, they cause different pain and discomfort. Callouses are generally painless and occurs as a result of repeated assault on certain skin area of the body, while corns can trigger pain when touched or push.
In addition to the size and where it is located, the easy characteristic to differentiate callouses from corns is its appearance. Callouses, which are larger than corns are physically visible as an area of hardened skin caused by friction or pressure. Callouses are headless and appear as yellowish hardened skin on foot. On the other hand, corns are hardened skin with a central seed of hardened dead skin cell. As a result, corns appear to have a head that appears in the middle of yellowish thickened skin on foot.
The main cause
Corns often appears as a body’s way to deal with weight pressure on certain area of the skin. On feet, calluses may appear as a result of weight-bearing when you are wearing high heels, wherein the weight of the body is centralized on the skin of the bottom of the foot near the toes. In contrast, calluses occur as body’s natural way of protecting certain skin area affected by repeated friction from regular actions on the same site. This is the reason why callouses tend to be more painless than corns in general.
The required treatment
While callouses can be treated using abrasive treatment—scrubbing or exfoliating hardened skin, corns are not commonly treated with similar treatment, since buffing a corn will likely lead to worsened condition and may trigger infection, not to mention possible pain it may cause. Hence, the best way to remove corns is by getting rid of the main cause triggering the hardened keratin—the dead skin cells to form on foot. Replacing the heels with ergonomic footwear is thus, a wise treatment for getting rid of corns on feet.
Similar characteristics between the two
Although corns and callouses can be easily differentiated, they do have something similar—both can be prevented. There are some general acts you can do in order to prevent both callouses and corns from growing at all on your feet, such as:
- Wearing comfortable, ergonomic shoes with socks. It is important not to wear any shoes without socks, as it may aggravate the foot skin, resulting in the formation of protective barrier in a form of thickened skin area.
- Keeping the feet hydrated. Apply moisturizer or petroleum jelly before sleeping is a great daily practice for preventing callouses and corns from forming. You will also need to pat the feet dry after washing it, as wet feet will instead make them drier, rather than hydrated.
- Padding the shoes. Both callouses and corns may occur as a respond to frictions. Comfortable shoe pads, therefore, is effective in giving your feet protection from these frictions that lead to callouses and corns.