Difference Between Corn and Callus

Callosities and corns look similar at the first glance. Corn can be considered a special type of callosity. Both are consequences of repeated trauma; therefore, both can be easily prevented by avoiding localized, repeated trauma. Both callosities and corns can regrow after surgical removal. This article will further discuss on these foot problems, in detail.


Callus is an area of skin which has thickened after being exposed to regular, significant, repeated trauma. Callosities mostly occur on the soles at weight bearing points. They are a defense mechanism to protect the underlying structures. Callus occurs when the friction is moderately frequent. If the frequency of trauma is very high, the skin thins out, and blisters form instead of callosities. Callus formation is very common and harmless in most cases. However, in diabetics, it poses a grave problem.

Diabetes causes occlusion of arteries supplying blood to legs and feet. It also numbs up the hands and feet making injuries go unnoticed.  When we step on something sharp we immediately withdraw the foot. Due to numbness, diabetics cannot feel the pain, and the protective withdrawal of the foot is absent. There have been instances where a small nail stuck deep into the sole goes unnoticed for a few days. Infections are commonplace in diabetics. Due to poor blood supply to feet, the defense against infections is poor. All these factors culminate in arterial foot ulcers, infection, and amputation. Everyone should be very aware of their feet. Daily inspection of feet, frequent washing, scraping off callosities, and wearing protective foot ware to shift weight bearing points away from callosities play a vital role in maintaining healthy feet.  


Corns are elliptical shaped thickened areas of skin. They usually occur on the upper aspect of the foot and less commonly on the soles. Corns occur when pressure points in shoes grate against the skin in an elliptical motion. The center of the lesion represents the actual pressure point. Surrounding area grows due to the continuous stimulation. Corns may regrow even after surgical removal. Therefore changing foot ware is essential following surgery.

There are two types of corns; hard corns and soft corns. Hard corns occur on flat rough skin. They are shaped like a funnel. They have broad widened tops and pointed bottoms. The pressure exerted on the top surface transmits down to deep tissues at the bottom and intensified due to the small surface area at the bottom. Hard corns can, therefore, cause deep tissue ulceration. Soft corns occur between toes. They are moist and keep surrounding skin moist, as well. The center of soft corns is firm and indurated.

Corns are easily prevented than treated. They can resolve spontaneously. Salicylic acid can dissolve corns. Treatment of corns is important in diabetics because pressure points can turn into diabetic foot ulcers. These can end up in amputation.

What is the difference between Callus and Corn?

• Callosities usually form on the soles while corns form on the dorsum of feet.

• Callosities do not have a specific architecture while corns have.

• Callosities form with repeated irregular friction while corns form when the friction is elliptical.

• Callosities are associated with superficial tissue ulceration while corns are associated with deep tissue ulceration.


Also read the Difference Between Corn and Wart