Calluses and Corns

These foot deformities often are caused by poorly fitted shoes.

Calluses are hardened patches of dead skin that develop on the soles of the feet. They can be annoying and painful, but they actually develop to protect your foot from excessive pressure and chafing. The skin on the soles of your feet is about 40 times thicker than the skin anywhere else on your body. A callus can double this thickness.

A corn is a concentrated callus that occurs at a pressure point, such as at the top of the toe or under a toe joint. The big and little toes are prime spots for corns to develop because these are pressure points on the foot. Corns are caused by excessive pressure or friction on the toes.

Calluses and corns usually develop from wearing poorly fitted shoes, wearing high heels, or walking on hard surfaces.

Treatments for calluses and corns

The first step we typically recommend is to modify your shoes to relieve pressure. Pads to relieve pressure also are helpful, but they must be positioned carefully. Our team will provide recommendations and resources to help with this.

Self-care at home can provide some relief for mild to moderate calluses and corns. After soaking your feet in warm water to soften the skin, a pumice stone or callus file can be used to remove some of the dead skin and reduce pain and pressure from a thick callus or corn.

Persistent or severe calluses or corns should be treated by a doctor. Do not attempt to treat a corn or callus on your own if you have diabetes, atherosclerosis, or another circulatory disease. The risk of infection is too high.

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