Corns & calluses

CORNS & CALLUSES Frequently Asked Questions

Corns and calluses are caused by constant pressure, friction, and strain on the skin and can make walking and wearing shoes uncomfortable and painful.

Our expert podiatrists, Dr. Darren Silvester and Dr. Gregory Larsen offer comprehensive treatments for corns and calluses to help you regain smooth, soft feet.

A callus is a “disease” of the skin.  Disease is in quotation marks because it is not really a skin disease but a normal reaction. A callus never occurs without a reason. Most of the time these occur in response to pressure and shear forces across the skin.  

The skin gets thick (keratin) that stays attached to the underlying dermis. This is the body’s response to try and protect the underlying tissue. They can get very thick and sometimes painful.

The callus can occur pretty much anywhere on the foot.  Some people get calluses around their heels. This is usually because they wear open shoes or go barefoot a lot. This puts a lot of shear force on the fat pad around the heel. A common place for calluses underneath the big toe joint. This is especially true if the patient has a bunion deformity. This is simply because there is increased pressure in that location and shear force when the patient is walking.

Also shoe gear plays a significant role in callus development .  Other common locations are centrally on the ball of the foot and underneath the 5th metatarsal head. Calluses can be aggravated by shoe gear that is too small or not very cushiony.

All these locations and 1 thing in common:  They have a bone underneath the skin that is putting undue pressure and shear force in that location. 

There are a few differences between corns and calluses that should help you identify which one you have for proper treatment.

Calluses are larger than corns and rarely painful. They’re flat areas of tough and thickened skin that appear in weight-bearing areas. They are your body’s way of protecting the inner layers of your skin.

Unlike calluses, corns have a core that points inward. They are conical in shape and are often surrounded by inflamed skin. As a result of the core pointing inward, they can press against nerves and cause pain, especially when you apply pressure on them. They often appear in non-weight bearing areas.

A corn is just a callus that occurs on the toes. Core insert called corns because they have a typical round appearance. They can occur between the toes or on top of toes depending on where the shear forces are occurring. Corns are usually caused by a small bone prominence on the toe itself. It is usually quite a well-defined small area.

A foot ulcer is an open sore on your foot. Your skin tissue breaks down, causing a hole in the deeper layers of your skin.

Ulcer size ranges from very small to larger than the size of a half-dollar. Foot ulcers can be crater-like and deepen the longer they are left untreated.

  In about 25% of patients with diabetes they developed neuropathy.  Neuropathy just means   “diseased nerve”.   If the neuropathy gets bad enough, the  patient can actually lose the ability to feel the feet enough to protect themselves from getting a wound underneath the callus.  A true diabetic foot ulcer almost always has a callus around it.  There is almost always a callus that occurs before the skin ulcerates.

Learn more: Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Any activity that increases friction on your foot can cause corns and calluses, but your chances of getting them to increase with age. Men and women over the age of 65 are often affected by corns and calluses.

Asides from friction, they might appear as symptoms of a more severe problem like hammertoes and bunions. If you continuously wear shoes that fit poorly — too tight or narrow, for example — corns and calluses will appear to protect your skin. The longer you keep those shoes on, the more buildup there will be.

Corns and calluses go away when you eliminate the cause of the friction and rubbing. If yours are caused by ill-fitting shoes, replacing those with more comfortable shoes or orthotics eventually alleviates the corn or callus.

However, if your corns or calluses are caused by a foot deformity like bunions, or if you have diabetes or poor circulation, you need to seek treatment from a doctor.

Schedule an appointment with the expert team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic, with two locations in Pleasanton and Universal City in San Antonio, Texas. Use the online booking tool or call the office nearest you.

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quick links:

Corns And Calluses Specialist

corns & calluses

treatment options

At Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic, your doctor examines your foot to identify the exact cause of your corns and calluses and prescribe the right treatment. If a hammertoe or other bone deformities is the cause, he may recommend surgery to correct the bone.

Trimming the corn or callus is a temporary measure and can provide short-term relief. The use of softening creams (we like uric acid creams ) can be very helpful in making the callus softer and less painful. If you are not a diabetic, corn removers can be helpful.

Your podiatrist may shave off the thickened skin to prevent infection or an ulcer by carefully trimming it with a scalpel. Do not try scraping it off yourself. If you do, you might end up with an infection or damage your skin.

If your corn or callus has been present for a long time, then something MUST CHANGE if you want to get rid of it.

Dr. Silvester and his team believe you have two choices to make that change:



This means the environment that the foot lives in has to change. One of the more effective therapies is to change shoe gear so there is a little more room for the toes and bumps on the feet. Shoes with a little extra depth can be used with a good arch support and cushioned insole.

Orthotics are terrific for offloading shear forces on the feet. They can be used to control the foot function so that there is significantly less shear force and pressure in the areas where the callus is being developed.



There are surgical options for dealing with corns and calluses. Tendons can be lengthened, bunion deformities can be corrected, bone prominences can be removed with a rasp.

These are actually more frequently performed in patients with diabetes because of the increased risk of a foot ulcer. It is common that we do these procedures after the foot ulcer has occurred. It is remarkable how quickly chronic foot ulcers can heal once the pressure has been removed or decreased by surgical procedure.


Dr. Silvester and Dr. Larsen specialize in many advanced minimally and non-invasive treatments, and if necessary, advanced minimally invasive and traditional surgical techniques with patient proven success stories.

Some of those are used to treat corns & calluses, such as:

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Calluses that are associated with the significant deformities such as a bunion, a tailor’s bunion, along metatarsal  ex cetera usually just disappear  if the deformity is corrected. It is quite remarkable.

Once the deformity goes away the forces that were causing the callus go away and it disappears.

Sometime tendons are too tight and are causing calluses.  These can easily be lengthened and give significant relief.  

Learn More >

to prevent

Do you suffer from chronic callusesor ulcers on the ends of your toes?

Dr. Darren Silvester and Dr. Gregory Larsen, podiatrists in Pleasanton, TX, are excited to offer a new treatment method to straighten out your toes, enabling you to walk comfortably again and helping relieve the pressure points causes your chronic calluses and/or ulcers. 

Watch the video to learn more and schedule today!


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