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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Calluses and Corns - Home Treatment

The initial treatment for calluses and corns usually is self-treatment at home. This includes carefully choosing your footwear, using a pumice stone, and using over-the-counter (nonprescription) salicylic acid products.

If you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, peripheral neuropathy, or other conditions that cause circulatory problems or numbness, talk to your doctor before you try any treatment for calluses or corns.

For treatment options, you can:

  • Reduce the size of a callus or corn by soaking your foot in warm water and then using a pumice stone to lightly wear away the dead skin. Never cut the corn or callus yourself, especially if you have diabetes or other conditions that cause circulatory problems or numbness.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and are roomy, with wide and deep toe boxes (the area that surrounds the toes). A wider toe box relieves pressure on soft corns by keeping the toes from pressing against each other. A deeper toe box relieves pressure on hard corns by keeping the toes from pressing against the top of the shoe. Thicker soles can help relieve pressure on calluses when you are walking. For more information, see:
    Foot problems: Finding the right shoes.
  • Use protective padding, such as moleskin or orthotic shoe inserts, to cushion the toe or hold the foot and toes in a more comfortable position. Your doctor can help you position the pads on your feet or in your shoes.
  • Use salicylic acid to soften calluses or corns. You can then rub them off with a pumice stone. Some doctors advise against using salicylic acid because it can damage surrounding skin. If you use salicylic acid, be sure to apply it only to the callus or corn and not to the surrounding skin.
  • Take care of your feet. Wash them regularly, and use lotion to keep them from drying out. Dry skin makes it easier for a callus to crack and bleed.

Prevention

Calluses and corns can be prevented by reducing or eliminating pressure on the skin.

  • Wear roomy shoes that fit well.
  • Wear socks that fit. Loose socks can bunch up and cause pressure.
  • Wear gloves while using a tool such as a garden spade or rake. If you expose other parts of your body to friction, wear appropriate padding. For example, if you are on your knees laying carpet, wear knee pads.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 06, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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