Callus and corns develop as a result of abnormal mechanical stresses. These mechanical stresses can result from both extrinsic (footwear, high activity load, sock seams, walking barefoot) and intrinsic (high arches, arthritis, bony prominence, loss of fat pad, flat feet, obesity) factors.
As these stresses on the skin persist, the body attempts to protect irritated areas of the foot by forming a thicker protective layer of skin (ie: a callus or corn), however this thicker layer itself will lead to a further increase in pressure – a vicious cycle.
What’s the difference?
Callus is not necessarily a painful or problematic occurrence but left unchecked it can lead to uncomfortable complications. Callus generally presents as an indistinct, uniform thickening of the skin. Callus tends to be of dense rubbery texture and yellow in colour. When the skin on your feet is very dry and dehydrated callus can harden and crack – ouch!
The amount of thickening (hyperkeratosis) varies from person to person and can range from a couple of millimeters to centimeters thick!