Orchard Tower

400 Orchard Road #09-01 Singapore 238875

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Saturday 9am to 1pm
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays For urgent treatment please call us
+65 67346440 (PAIN)

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Corn and Calluses (Callouses)

Corn and calluses are thick, hard layers of dead skin that usually form under the feet, at the sides of the toes or above the toes.

A callus is a more diffused thickening of the skin whereas a corn is a thicker and more focused.

A corn is often cone shaped, and can extend deep into the skin. It may also be surrounded by callus.

Corns are usually hard, but those that occur between the toes may be kept soft by moisture in the area.

People who play stringed musical instruments like the guitar and violin may also have calluses forming on their fingers, and, in the case of violinists, at the neck where the violin is placed.

Likewise, farmers and rowers tend to have corn and calluses on their hands.

This indicates one thing – corn and calluses are caused by excessive pressure / friction on the skin.

It means that they are not a problem in themselves. They are symptoms of a deeper problem – excessive pressure.

In fact, corn and calluses are the body’s way of naturally protecting us against more serious problems, such as blisters and sores. So unless the deeper problem is solved, corn and calluses will always form.

This is why many people who try to remove corn and calluses by themselves find that they keep growing back, often within a matter of days.

Such self-treatment of corn and calluses is NOT RECOMMENDED.

Injury, in the form of cuts and wounds, can occur and this can be highly dangerous.

It is therefore vital that people with diabetic foot seek professional diabetes foot care from a chiropodist / podiatrist.

However, even ‘regular’ people without diabetes are strongly advised not to try remove corn and calluses themselves.

As corns and callus are symptoms of underlying problems, self treatment should follow a proper diagnosis of the underlying condition and advice on how to best manage it.

Although corn and calluses are basically caused by excessive pressure, this pressure can be due to a number of factors, such as:

  • Improper footwear, especially tight fitting shoes;
  • Toe deformities, such as hammer toes – whereby the top of the hammer toe presses against the shoe
  • Protruding bones
  • Imbalanced or abnormal gait (way of walking) that results in uneven pressure on different parts of the feet. These are called biomechanical or gait abnormalities.

For example, you may be advised on the proper selection of shoes, or you may be asked to wear orthotic shoes or prescription orthotic insoles to balance up the pressure of your gait.

So don’t take your corn and calluses too lightly. There is no need to bear with the pain as, in most cases, they can be solved. And if you have diabetes or if your blood circulation is poor for whatever reason, you need to be extra careful.


Do not use corn plasters, corn paint and other corn removal medication. They only treat the symptoms, but not the underlying problem that cause them.

These medications contain strong chemicals that can damage your skin.

The chemicals are supposed to ‘eat away’ the corn, but they do not differentiate between corn / calluses and normal skin.

Such medication are particularly dangerous for those with diabetic feet, and older people who suffer from poor blood circulation.

The Chiropodist | Podiatrist

Rosalie Q. Tio
Member of the Institute of Chiropodist and Podiatrists
International College of Biomechanics, Australia
HCPC Registered (UK)
BHlthSc & MPod Prac (LaTrobe, AU)
Dip. Chiropody (Scholl, UK)

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