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Understanding the Formation of Calluses and Corns on Feet | Find Your Stride | Edinburgh Podiatrist


Foot calluses and corns are common dermatological (skin) conditions affecting millions of individuals worldwide. These thickened patches of skin not only cause discomfort but may also hamper mobility. Fortunately, podiatrists are specially trained healthcare professionals who possess the expertise to diagnose and treat such ailments effectively. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of callus and corn formation on feet and delve into the ways in which podiatrists can provide relief.

Podiatrist using a scalpel to reduce callus
Podiatrist treating callus

Causes and Formation of Calluses

Calluses are areas of thickened skin that develop as a result of friction or pressure. They often form on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. When repetitive impact or friction occurs, such as through walking or wearing ill-fitting shoes, the skin responds by producing more layers of cells to protect itself. This excessive buildup leads to the formation of callus. Various factors can contribute to the development of calluses, such as improper footwear, foot shape, and gait patterns.

Understanding Corns and Their Triggers

Unlike calluses, corns typically appear as small, concentrated areas of hardened skin that occur on the underside of the foot or toes. They are caused by pressure or friction, particularly if narrow shoes are worn or there are bony prominences beneath the feet. As the skin thickens to shield itself, a corn forms. There are two main types of corns: hard corns and soft corns. Hard corns develop under the feet or on the tops/sides of the toes, while soft corns form between the toes due to excessive moisture in these areas..

The Role of Podiatrists in Treatment

Podiatrists are highly trained medical professionals specialising in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the lower limbs and feet. When it comes to calluses and corns, they have the expertise to assess the underlying causes and provide tailored treatment options. Podiatrists may employ a variety of techniques, including debriding `(removing) the hardened skin, prescribing orthotics to reduce pressure, and offering advice on proper footwear or smoking cessation. In severe cases, they may recommend surgical removal of any bony prominences or abnormal growths contributing to callus or corn formation. Podiatrists also play an invaluable role in educating individuals on preventive measures to minimise the chances of future callus or corn development.


Calluses and corns on the feet can be both uncomfortable and unsightly. However, with the assistance of a podiatrist, those suffering from these conditions can find relief and regain proper foot health. Whether through non-invasive treatments or surgical intervention, podiatrists possess the knowledge and skills to effectively address calluses and corns, ensuring individuals can walk pain-free once again.

Find `Your Stride!

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