Corns & Calluses

What is a corn?

Corns can have either a soft or hard inner core. Soft corns usually form between the toes, while hard corns can be found on the tops of the toes. Corns caused by ill-fitting shoes can often be resolved with an appropriate-sized shoe.

What is a callus?

Calluses are rough and thicker areas of skin that form due to repeated irritation or pressure on parts such as the palms of hands or soles of feet. Calluses are typically asymptomatic, more superficial, and cover larger areas of skin.

What causes a corn on a foot?

A corn on the foot is a hard, thickened area of skin that is caused by frequent friction or pressure. Common causes include wearing tight or uncomfortable shoes, walking barefoot on rough surfaces, having a bony prominence on the foot, or having an abnormal gait. 

 Some of the common causes of corns on feet include: 

  • Wearing shoes that are too tight or uncomfortable. 
  • Walking on hard and rough surfaces without shoes. 
  • Having a bony prominence on the foot. 
  • Having an abnormal gait, such as toe-walking or using a cane. 
  • Diabetes, which can cause nerve damage in the feet. 
  • Having a corn or callus on another part of the body that puts pressure on the affected area. 
  • Performing certain foot-heavy activities, such as jogging or running. 
  • Having an injury or infection.

 Symptoms of corns on the feet include: 

  • Hard, thickened patches of skin 
  • Pain that worsens with pressure or when the area is touched 
  • Fluid-filled bumps or blisters that may ooze or form a crust 
  • Itching or burning sensation 
  • Redness or inflamed skin around the corn or callus 
  • Discoloration of the skin around the corn or callus

 What causes a callus on a foot?

 A callus on the foot is a hard, thicker layer of skin that forms as a response to friction or pressure. Calluses are a common and normal part of the body’s defense against irritation from activities such as walking, running or dancing. 

  • Repeated friction or pressure from activities such as running, walking or dancing 
  • Rubbing of shoes or sandals 
  • Poorly fitting shoes 
  • Improper arch support 
  • Abnormal foot structure, such as bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet 
  • Heredity

 Symptoms of calluses on the feet include:  

  • Hard, thickened patches of skin 
  • Rough and bumpy in texture 
  • Areas may be stained yellow or gray 
  • Painful when pressure is applied 
  • Most commonly found on the heel, ball of the foot and outside of the big toe 
  • In some cases, underlying tissue may be inflamed
  • In severe cases, the skin may become irritated and even cracked

 Tips to Avoid Corns & Calluses

  1. Wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes: Wearing shoes that fit well and are comfortable is the first step in avoiding corns and calluses. Shoes cause the skin to rub against itself or against the shoe, which can cause the buildup of hard skin, leading to corns and calluses. 
  2. Wear protective pads: Placing padding and cushioning where the shoe may be rubbing the foot, such as on the heel or toe, will help protect against friction. These pads help reduce the contact between the skin and the shoe. 
  3. Avoid high heels: High heels place extra pressure on the toes and increase the risk of corns and calluses. Women should choose shoes with a low heel or a flat sole. 
  4. Keep feet dry and clean: Wearing socks and shoes that allow air to pass through to your feet and prevent them from becoming too sweaty can help keep calluses at bay. Make sure to dry your feet thoroughly after a bath or shower. 
  5. Exfoliate regularly: Removing dead skin cells on the feet can help prevent hard calluses' buildup. To remove tough skin from the feet, gently exfoliate them using a pumice stone or foot file.
  6. Soak feet regularly: Soaking the feet in warm, soapy water can help soften any hard skin. Use a soft cloth or loofah to help further remove any excess skin to help prevent corns and calluses. 
  7. Use moisturizer: Regular moisturizing the feet keeps skin hydrated and soft. This helps reduce friction that can lead to corns and calluses.

How a Podiatrist may treat Corns & Calluses

A podiatrist typically treats corns and calluses on the feet through trimming, buffing, padding, or debriding (softening the hardened skin by sanding away the top layer). Sometimes, the podiatrist may prescribe topical medications such as salicylic acid or custom orthotics (insoles) to relieve pain. 

If the corn or callus is inflamed and red, the podiatrist may also treat it with corticosteroid injections, laser treatment, or cryosurgery.

Natural Remedies to Alleviate Corns and Calluses 

  • Soak your feet in warm, soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes and use a pumice stone to gently rub away the dry, dead skin 
  • Rub aloe vera juice, vinegar, or coconut oil on the affected area 
  • Protect the area from too much pressure and friction by wearing appropriate shoes and padding 
  • Slather any thick cream or petroleum jelly on your feet, and then put on socks to hold the cream in place while you sleep 
  • Place a slice of lemon or lime directly on the corn or callus and let it sit for 10 minutes 
  • Apply castor oil or tea tree oil directly to the area with a cotton swab

Planning Your Next Visit at Greenberg Podiatry

Everyone has different needs, and we recognize that, so we create a specific plan for each patient. Not only do we handle current issues, but we help prevent any future concerns as well.

Get personalized guidance from the experienced team at Greenberg Podiatry! Take advantage of the chance to impact your well-being positively - contact them now for the advice you need!