Corns and Calluses – The Causes and Cures

Have you experienced troublesome patches of thick skin on your feet? Have you wondered what causes them to form and what you can do to get rid of them? Calluses and corns are one of the most common foot problems presented to podiatrists. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help prevent their formation and treat them if you are affected. For the best podiatrist Canberra locals know and trust for professional foot care, The Walking Clinic is your leading choice. Read on to learn more about corns and calluses as well as some helpful advice on treatment and prevention.

The Difference Between Calluses and Corns

While these words are often used interchangeably, calluses and corns are not the same thing.

Calluses – tend to be larger patches of skin that generally form on the bottoms and sides of feet, they often appear yellow or grey in colour and will be less sensitive to the touch than surrounding skin. Calluses are not usually painful, unless the callus becomes very dry and cracked, then the cracked are may become painful.

Corns – are smaller formations and typically circular in shape. While a corn is similar to a callus, it also has an inner core which can either be hard or soft. Soft corns often form between toes (where moisture is common) and hard corns commonly form on the tops of toes and bottoms of feet. Inflamed skin can appear around either type of corn, and they are usually painful when pressed.

The Causes

Resulting from repetitive friction on the skin of our feet when they are placed under stress from long standing, walking, and running. The outer layer of skin in this area dies leading to a build-up of dead skin which then forms a hard surface that contains a tough, protective protein called keratin. Ill-fitting footwear, underlying foot conditions such as bunions, hammertoes or bone spurs or an abnormal gait pattern may also cause increased pressure on a certain part of the foot, resulting in a callus or corn.

Removal and Treatment

There are a few ways to treat and remove calluses and hard corns. You can try soaking your feet in warm water and use a pumice stone or callus remover to gently rub away some of the dead skin. There are also medicated corn removal patches that can found over the counter in most pharmacies. However, it is important to keep in mind that removing a corn in this way is unlikely to get to the root of the issue that caused the corn in the first place. Before starting any treatment, you should have your feet examined by a qualified podiatrist, as they will be able to diagnose the cause of your corns and/or calluses, remove the dead skin and tailor a prevention plan specific to your situation.

**Do not attempt to cut corns or calluses yourself, this can cause serious infection.


Generally, prevention starts with proper fitting shoes. Ensure you always wear footwear that gives your feet plenty of space and doesn’t cause too much pressure and friction. Keeping the skin on your feet moisturised and soft will also play a key role in preventing corns and calluses.

How Can a Podiatrist Help?

Podiatrists are highly experienced in treating bothersome callouses and corns.  In a consultation, you can expect your podiatrist to perform the following:

  • Painless removal of the corn and callus
  • Identify the cause of the problem
  • Prepare customised padding to redistribute pressure away from the painful area
  • Give advice on appropriate footwear and at-home foot care

Calluses and corns can be uncomfortable and unpleasant to look at and they can occur anywhere on the foot where there’s rubbing or irritation. Don’t suffer any longer, book an appointment with the team at the Walking Clinic today. With expert podiatrists in Kingston, Belconnen, Lyneham and Woden, we have 4 convenient locations all over Canberra. Book online or call us today.