How to Tell if You Have a Corn on Your Toe

by Krissi Maarx ; Updated July 18, 2017

Woman rubbing her foot

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Corns and calluses develop on the feet when ill-fitting shoes or socks or a physical deformity exert pressure or friction on the skin, causing the skin to thicken. While they are similar in appearance, corns and calluses differ enough that you can tell them apart. Corns are also more likely to develop on the tops and sides of toes, whereas calluses are more likely to form on the soles of your feet. Although corns typically heal within four weeks with proper care, medical treatment is sometimes necessary.

Observe the affected area of the skin for redness or inflammation, which typically occurs around the outer edge of a corn. Teens Health notes that corns generally have a gray center, surrounded by a yellow ring.

Press the spot gently. A corn has a hard center; a callus does not. You might experience pain when you press it, which is another symptom of corns but not calluses.

Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for confirmation, especially if you have diabetes or if you are experiencing moderate to severe pain.

Tips

  • Soaking your feet in warm water softens the toughened skin layers of a corn. Use a pumice stone or washcloth to rub away a layer of the rough skin.

    Follow the podiatrist’s treatment recommendations, which may include different shoes, orthotics, an antibiotic ointment or a patch of salicylic acid.

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