Calluses and corns are generally symptoms of underlying problems and in some cases, early warning signals of more complex foot disorders. Because they are caused by continuous pressure in one particular area, they may indicate abnormalities or deformities in your bone structure, or the way you walk. Often calluses and corns can be caused by ill fitting or inappropriate foot wear.
Sometimes pressure placed on the foot becomes out of balance and extra friction falls on a particular area of the foot. When this happens, the body may respond to the pressure by producing thickened areas of skin. These hard patches of skin are called calluses and are part of the body’s defence system to protect the underlying tissue. If the cause of the pressure is not relieved calluses can become painful. If the pressure becomes concentrated in a small area, a hard corn may develop. Sometimes the pressure of the corn or callus may produce inflammation which can result in acute pain, swelling and redness. Sometimes soft corns may form between the toes where skin is moist from sweat or inadequate drying. These appear white and rubbery, they can also be caused by excessive friction. Corns and calluses are most often found on the balls of the feet or the top of toes. They can also be found on heels and even along the sides of your toenails.