Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

The Difference Between Corns and Calluses

People often refer to corns and calluses as if they’re the same condition. However, they’re actually two different issues. While neither is dangerous, they can be incredibly uncomfortable when ignored. They can also put your feet at risk if you have a medical condition that affects your circulation or ability to heal, such as diabetes.

John Jurcisin, DPM, is a seasoned podiatrist and foot surgeon at Precision Footcare in Midtown East, New York City. In this blog, he discusses the distinctions between corns and calluses and how to resolve these common problems.

Defining corns and calluses

The reason why people confuse corns and calluses is because they have a lot in common. 

Both cause hard, thickened areas of skin on your feet. And, both can be quite painful, even making you feel as if you’re walking on rocks or stones. However, despite these similarities, they also have distinct differences.


Corns typically develop on smooth, hairless areas of your feet, especially the tops or sides of your toes. They form from dead skin and often appear as small, circular shapes with a clearly defined center. A corn can be hard or soft, whitish in color, or have a rubbery texture.


Unlike corns, calluses typically look yellow or pale and feel lumpy. They often appear on the soles of your feet, the bony spots underneath your toes, or your hands, elbows, or knees. These thickened areas of skin are usually bigger than corns and don’t have defined edges. It’s also common for them to have a lumpy feel and less sensitivity than other areas of skin.

Preventing corns and calluses

Corns and calluses form to help protect the skin from pressure, rubbing, or other types of irritation. But you can take steps to avoid them, such as:

You should also treat other foot problems and deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes, which can increase your chances of developing corns and calluses.

Treating corns and calluses

Sometimes, you can resolve corns and calluses at home with over-the-counter products, such as pumice stones or protective pads. However, if you have a lot of pain, other foot problems, or medical conditions, such as diabetes, Dr. Jurcisin recommends scheduling an appointment.

Depending on your condition, Dr. Jurcisin can suggest a variety of treatments, including removing the hardened skin by trimming it. If you have an infection — or the risk of one developing — he may also prescribe an antibiotic ointment.

If you have other foot issues that are causing corns or calluses to form, Dr. Jurcisin will develop a personalized treatment strategy to address those problems, too.

If you’re looking for help with corns or calluses, book an appointment online or over the phone with Precision Footcare today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Don't Let Hammertoes become a Pain

Hammertoes can be crippling for those afflicted. We share actions you can take today to relieve the discomfort and slow the progression of hammertoes.

Do Bunions Heal on Their Own?

Do you have a painful bump at the base of your big toe? This common joint problem in the foot can vary in severity and even cause chronic pain. Read on to learn why bunions form and how they can be treated.

The Many Benefits of MLS Laser Therapy

Do you have foot pain or inflammation? How about a sports or soft tissue injury? MLS Laser Therapy provides safe and effective treatment for numerous foot and ankle conditions, even arthritis. Keep reading to learn more.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore an Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail may not seem like a big deal. In fact, some can even go away on their own. However, there are times when this foot issue can require medical attention. Keep reading to learn more.

How Is a Sprained Ankle Graded?

Think all ankle sprains are the same? Think again. These common injuries can vary from mild to severe, so determining the extent of your injury plays a significant role in the best course of treatment. Keep reading to learn more.