Corns & Calluses: More Than Just a Nuisance Understanding Their Causes and When to Seek Professional Help

February 10, 2024

Corns and calluses are common foot problems that can be more than just a cosmetic nuisance. At Spotsylvania Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates in Fredericksburg, VA, we understand the discomfort and potential complications they can cause. This blog aims to educate you about the causes of corns and calluses, their differences, and when it’s time to seek professional help.

What Are Corns and Calluses?

Corns are small, circular, thickened patches of skin, often with a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. They typically develop on the tops and sides of toes and can be painful when pressed. Calluses, on the other hand, are larger and vary in shape, usually forming on the soles of your feet, particularly under the heels or balls. They are less sensitive than corns but can cause discomfort when thick.

Causes of Corns and Calluses

The primary cause of both corns and calluses is pressure and friction. This can happen due to:

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes: Tight, loose, or high-heeled shoes can create friction.
  • Not wearing socks: Socks help to reduce friction between your feet and shoes.
  • Physical activities: Running, walking, or other activities that put pressure on the feet can contribute to their formation.
  • Foot deformities: Bunions, hammertoes, or other foot problems can lead to uneven distribution of weight, causing corns and calluses.

When to Seek Professional Help

While corns and calluses are not usually serious, they can lead to complications, especially for individuals with diabetes or poor circulation. It’s time to consult a podiatrist at Spotsylvania Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates if:

  • Pain and Discomfort: If they cause pain or make it difficult to walk.
  • Diabetes or Poor Circulation: Those with these conditions are at higher risk of complications.
  • Signs of Infection: Redness, swelling, pus, or severe pain around the corn or callus.

Professional Treatment Options

At Spotsylvania Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, we offer various treatments for corns and calluses, including:

  • Trimming Excess Skin: Our podiatrists can safely trim corns and calluses.
  • Custom Orthotics: These devices are designed to redistribute pressure on the foot.
  • Medication: Topical treatments or oral medication to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, surgery might be necessary to correct a bone alignment issue.

Prevention Tips

Prevention is key to avoiding corns and calluses:

  • Wear Properly Fitting Shoes: Ensure your shoes fit well and provide adequate support.
  • Use Protective Pads: Over-the-counter pads can cushion problem areas.
  • Keep Feet Clean and Moisturized: This helps maintain healthy skin.
  • Regular Foot Inspections: Especially important for those with diabetes.


Corns and calluses, while common, should not be ignored. Understanding their causes and knowing when to seek professional help is crucial for your foot health. At Spotsylvania Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, we’re committed to providing expert care for all your foot-related concerns. If you’re experiencing discomfort from corns or calluses, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

Remember, your feet carry you through life; taking care of them is essential!