Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Corns and calluses facts
- What are corns and calluses?
- Why do corns and calluses develop?
- What are risk factors for corns and calluses?
- What are symptoms and signs of corns and calluses?
- How are corns and calluses diagnosed?
- How can corns and calluses be treated?
- When should someone seek professional treatment for corns or calluses?
- What is the prognosis for corns and calluses?
- How can corns and calluses be prevented?
- Find a local Podiatrist in your town
Why do corns and calluses develop?
Hyperkeratosis simply means thickening of the skin. This thickening occurs as a natural defense mechanism that strengthens the skin in areas of friction or excessive pressure. Abnormal anatomy of the feet, such as hammer toe or other toe deformities, can lead to corn or callus formation as can bony prominences in the feet. Footwear that is too short or too tight or that exerts friction at specific points can also cause skin thickening that leads to corns and calluses. Abnormalities in gait or movement that result in increased pressure to specific areas can also be the cause.
It can be hard to know why finger corns develop since they often don't appear at sites of obvious pressure. Finger calluses may develop in response to using tools, playing musical instruments such as the guitar, or using work equipment that exerts pressure at specific sites.
What are risk factors for corns and calluses?
As mentioned above, any condition or activity that results in increased friction over the fingers or toes can lead to the development of corns or calluses. People of all ages can be affected but they are particularly common in people over 65 years of age. Corns and calluses have been shown to affect 20%-65% of people in this age range. Some of these risk factors are
- abnormalities in anatomy of the feet or toes;
- abnormalities in gait;
- poorly fitting footwear;
- using equipment, tools, or instruments that exert pressure on specific locations on the fingers;
- certain occupations, such as farmers or garden workers.
What are symptoms and signs of corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are hardened, thick areas of skin. The area may be dry and may appear to be scaly or flaky. Corns can cause pain or discomfort if they interfere with walking or other activity. Calluses are typically painless.
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