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Calluses and corns are areas of thick skin caused by pressure or friction. They may cause pain when a person walks or wears shoes.
Calluses usually form on the hands or feet. They may look gray or yellow and be less sensitive to the touch than surrounding skin. They usually don't need treatment. Calluses on the hands usually can be prevented by wearing gloves to protect hands, such as when gardening or lifting weights. Calluses on the feet can usually be prevented by wearing shoes that fit well.
Corns have an inner core that can be soft or hard. Soft corns are found between toes. Hard corns may form on the top of a toe. Corns caused by poorly fitting shoes will often go away with the right size shoe. Using protective padding to cushion the corn can help relieve pain while the toe heals.
Calluses and corns can be softened and the dead skin removed by careful use of salicylic acid products. These are available without a prescription. Sometimes a doctor will remove a callus or corn.
A person who has diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, peripheral neuropathy, or other conditions that cause circulatory problems or numbness should talk to a doctor before trying any treatment for calluses or corns.
Last Revised: November 21, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Barry L. Scurran, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
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