Corns and calluses are annoying and sometimes painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas of pressure. The medical term for the thickened skin that forms corns and calluses is hyperkeratosis. A callus refers to a more diffuse, flattened area of thick skin, while a corn is a thick, localized area that usually has a conical or circular shape. Corns, also known as helomas, sometimes have a dry, waxy, or translucent appearance.

Corns and calluses occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Corns can be painful to walk on, even when they are small. Common locations for corns are

  • on the sole, over the metatarsal arch (the “ball” of the foot);
  • on the outside of the fifth (small or “pinky”) toe, where it rubs against the shoe; and
  • between the fourth and fifth toes. Unlike other corns that are firm and flesh-colored, corns between the toes are often whitish and messy; they are sometimes called “soft corns” (heloma molles), in contrast to the more common “hard corns” (heloma durums) found in other locations.




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