Hard skin (known as callous or hyperkeratosis) can develop on areas of the feet exposed to chronic rubbing. This can be caused by the way you walk, poorly fitting orthotics, tight shoes as well as some medical conditions.
A common area for hard skin formation is on the back of the heels, this is more prevalent during the warmer months when patients tend to wear open footwear resulting in painful cracking.
A corn is a tender, cone shaped area of very dense, hard skin that forms at specific pressure points on the foot.
Treatment for corns and callous is usually completely painless and involves removal of the hard skin using sterile instruments. Often this hard skin will build up again over time and therefore it is best to have your feet treated on a regular basis in order to remain comfortable and pain free.
Following removal of a large corn. Healthy skin is visible beneath. (Actual patient, image used with permission)