Your feet do a lot of work. They support your entire body and absorb shock with every step you take. And sometimes, that pressure can cause thick patches of skin to form on your feet and toes.

Both corns and calluses develop due to friction and stress on the skin of your feet. They’re usually harmless, but they can be bothersome nonetheless. If you have a sensitive spot, David B. Glover, DPM, FACFAS, and our foot care experts at Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute in South Ogden, Utah, can diagnose and treat your condition.

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between corns and calluses, and what you can do if you have a painful one.

How to identify a corn

A foot corn is a small, round buildup of thickened skin. Corns form due to repetitive rubbing, stress, or friction in the same location over a period of time.

Since corns are raised, they can get irritated more easily than calluses. A corn may be tender or sensitive to the touch and make it uncomfortable to wear socks or shoes.

You’re most likely to find corns in the following places:

  • Tops of your toes
  • Between your toes
  • Soles of your feet

The three main types of corns are hard corns, soft corns, and seed corns. Hard corns are very dense, and they can be found within a callus. They’re most commonly found on the tops of your toes. Soft corns have a rubbery texture, and they’re usually found between your toes. Seed corns are quite small, and they generally develop on the bottoms of your feet.

How to identify a callus

Like corns, calluses are thickened patches of skin on your feet. However, they’re often much larger, flatter, and more irregularly shaped than corns.

Most people have calluses on the bottoms of their feet, and they form on weight-bearing parts, such as the:

  • Undersides of the big toes
  • Balls of the feet
  • Sides of the feet
  • Heels

Calluses may be tender when they first develop, but older calluses are usually less sensitive than the skin around them. Sometimes, large calluses can crack and form fissures, which may be painful.

What to do about painful corns and calluses

Not all corns and calluses cause symptoms. But sometimes, complications can make them bothersome or even painful. Furthermore, both corns and calluses can get infected.

If you have a painful or infected corn or callus, don’t try to treat it on your own. Dr. Glover can evaluate your condition and remove the corn or callus safely.

After removing it, he can help you find ways to avoid unnecessary friction in the area. Wearing wider shoes, using padding or taping, and keeping your feet moisturized can all help prevent painful corns and calluses from forming again.

If you have painful corns or calluses, Dr. Glover can give you the care you need. To learn more, call 801-614-2996 or book an appointment online with Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute today.