Hard Skin or Shoes Causing Pain?

Wondering how to ease pain caused by bunions or stop them from getting worse?

As the weather cools down, we start to see a big change in footwear. For some that means pain.

Tight boots, or last years shoes that may now be a little worn…

As we come into these colder months podiatrists see an increase in painful corns and callous, it isn’t always your shoes need changing, sometimes it’s just a little TLC for your feet.

What is a callous?

Callous or hyperkeratosis is the superficial formation of hard skin found at locations of high pressure or friction.

Common sites for callous formation is

  • Under the forefoot
  • The heel
  • On the joints of toes
  • The tips of the toes
  • Inside the spaces between the toes

If left untreated, callouses will eventually cause considerable pain and discomfort, forcing people to compensate or hesitate to weight bear when walking, running or even simply wearing footwear.


What is a corn?


A corn, alternatively known as a heloma durum is a formation hyperkeratosis (callous) in a more compact and localised area that protrudes into the tissue. It gets the name “corn” by its most common shape, a well-defined, cylindrical or cone shaped piece of hard skin.

“A corn can often feel like a stone is stuck in the foot.”

Corns are also generally found in areas of high pressure and friction and are just as painful as superficial callous formation. Like superficial callous, corns may lead to ulceration and potentially infection if left untreated.

“Corns and callous may cause tissue breakdown, which in turn may lead to ulceration. This is of great concern with those suffering from Diabetes!”


What to look out for

Areas of irritation such as redness, pain or blistering, small tiny dark dots or mild haemorrhaging (bruising) may be visible under the skin which indicates tissue breakdown.

Ill-fitting footwear: coming into the colder seasons we tend to wear closed-in shoes more often, which in can increase and prolong trauma to the feet. Additionally, you need to ensure that you have the correct fit. Shoes that are too big will have your feet moving around excessively, increasing friction to pressure sites.

Poor foot mechanics: if you are not pushing of your feet in the appropriate areas callous and corns can be the first indication to your podiatrist that something is going wrong. The presence of abnormal corns and callous can indicate to a podiatrist that there may be something abnormal happening with the foot. For example, excessive pronation or supination, increased rigidity, abnormal joint range of motion or mechanics or even reductions in fat pad thickness that may need attention.



Corns and callouses require professional removal, debridement and/or offloading.

Unfortunately because corns and callouses develop due to pressure, they usually return which means patients require regular treatment and monitoring under podiatric care.

“Regular treatment can keep your feet looking and feeling great!”

In cases in which offloading is required, you may have to undergo a biomechanical assessment. After a biomechnical assessment your podiatrist should be able to diagnose the causative factor as to why these corns and callouses are developing and discuss with you your available options for long-term care.

We understand that footwear is very important to us all, so we do not want to dictate or restrict your footwear preference. However, you may simply need to add some more appropriate footwear selections to your collection. This way you may fluctuate between each pair, giving your feet a rest from constant pressure or friction.

Related Articles


A Quick Tip For “Runner’s Knee” 

Focusing on results and high quality of care, Daniel’s main interest/passion is addressing biomechanical related issues such as the lower back, hip, knee, ankle and foot pain. This is where he makes the biggest difference in people’s lives. Incorporating the latest in evidence-based practice, technology and utilising a broad network of health professionals, Daniel aims to ensure his patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

Read More →