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Are Foot Calluses A Problem?

The most common calluses that people have are foot calluses. A callus is a thickened layer of skin that is caused by repeated friction, much like blisters. Why does this happen? It’s your body’s way of building a defense mechanism to prevent any further irritation in the area. 

Many people that spend a lot of time on their feet will notice calluses form on their weight-bearing areas, such as the heel, big toe, and the ball of your foot. Athletes or individuals that spend a lot of time on their feet will have foot calluses. 

The Difference Between Corns And Calluses

While they might go together (so to speak), a foot corn and callus differ from one another, as calluses are less defined. Calluses are much bigger than corns, as they can cover more surface area of the foot with patches of thickened skin, whereas corns have a strong, defined core. 


Corns are often smaller than calluses and typically appear on the tops and sides of your toes. Most people can also form hand corns because of labour-intensive jobs. However, there are three types of foot corns:

  • Hard corns: These corns are small and hard dense areas that form under a large patch of hard skin. Hard corns will often form on the top of your toes.

  • Soft corns: These corns have a white/grey colour with a soft, rubbery texture. Soft corns often appears between toes. 

  • Seed corns: This type of corn is smaller and appears under the foot. 


Calluses are much larger than corns and more spread out in shape. Instead of your toes, calluses form on the bony areas under your foot. While they may appear as patches of thickened, dead skin, calluses are normal, and they may have some benefits

This leads us to the question: are foot calluses a problem?

The Positives

A callus is the body’s natural response to experiencing repeated friction on the feet and surrounding skin. Due to the hardened layers of skin on the foot, calluses can reduce pain in the affected area. 

Acting as a type of cushion, calluses make it easier for people to walk barefoot on rougher terrain. They are also quite common in athletes and function as a kind of shield for the bony areas of your feet as you run, jump, or walk. 

Calluses are also good at reducing the sensitivity of the hardened areas of the foot. For example, if you’re a runner, you may be able to withstand more pressure and weight load without experiencing foot pain. 

The Negatives

Not everyone will have the same experience with calluses on their feet. When they begin to build up, they can become extremely painful. A callus can become quite big, which can become more irritated from rubbing against the inside of your shoes and socks. In some cases, a callus can detach from the skin directly underneath it. From there, blisters can form and create even more painful calluses. 

For some, some calluses form as the result of a biomechanical deficiency, such as bunions or hammertoes. In more serious cases, if you have a condition that causes poor blood circulation, such as diabetes, you could be at risk of greater complications when developing corns and calluses. 

What Causes Calluses?

Aside from running and walking quite often, there are numerous ways you can develop calluses on the foot, such as the following:

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes that don’t offer much support.

  • Wearing shoes without socks.

  • Biomechanical abnormalities.

  • Bunions.

  • Flat feet.

  • Bony prominences. 

  • Diabetes. 

  • Athletic activities that put pressure on the weight-bearing areas of the feet. 

  • Sweaty feet moisten the skin, making it easier to form calluses. 

How To Treat Calluses

There are methods you can use to treat foot complications and pain associated with calluses:

  • Soak your feet in warm soapy water to soften the callus. 

  • Once you’re done soaking in the warm water, dry your feet and use a pumice stone to scrub the callus.

  • Afterwards, use a moisturizer on the callused area. 

Repeat this process often. By scrubbing down any calluses, you will be preventing them from getting any larger and reducing the risk of the callus cracking. 

If you’ve developed more than one callus and they’re becoming too painful to deal with, you may book an appointment with a foot specialist to have it safely removed. 

How To Prevent Calluses

To prevent the risk of developing foot calluses, try these preventative methods:

  • Wearing shoes that fit properly and provide comfort. 

  • Wear socks when you wear shoes or inside the house. 

  • Moisturize your feet daily.

  • Exfoliate your feet. 

  • Get custom orthotics made to correct any biomechanical abnormalities you may have. 

  • Receive medical pedicures periodically. 

Being on your feet all day can be a tricky thing to avoid, especially when you’re working hard. If you’re experiencing painful calluses or dealing with any other foot problems, book an appointment at our Toronto foot pain clinic today. A licensed and trained foot specialist can provide a variety of services to aid your foot complications and get you the relief you need.



Toronto, ON Chiropodist Academy Foot and Orthotic


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