Calluses and Corns - Treatment Overview
Calluses or corns usually do not need treatment unless they cause pain. If they do
cause pain, the treatment goal is to remove the pressure or friction that is
causing the callus or corn, to give it time to heal. Initial treatment
generally involves things you can do at home. These include carefully choosing
your footwear, using a pumice stone, and using over-the-counter (nonprescription) salicylic acid products.
If you have
peripheral arterial disease,
peripheral neuropathy, or other conditions that cause
circulatory problems or numbness, talk to your doctor before trying any
treatment for calluses or corns.
Depending on the location of the
callus or corn and on other conditions that you may have, such as diabetes, you
have several treatment options. You can:
- Have your doctor pare (trim) the callus or
corn with a small knife. Your doctor can do this in his or her
- Reduce the size of the callus or corn yourself by soaking
your callus or corn 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 keeps the toes from pressing against each
other, relieving pressure on soft corns. A deeper toe box keeps the toes from
pressing against the top of the shoe, relieving pressure on hard corns. Thicker
soles can help relieve pressure on calluses when you are walking. For more
- Foot problems: Finding the right shoes.
protective padding such as
orthotic shoe inserts to cushion the callus or corn or
to hold the foot and toes in a more comfortable position to prevent rubbing.
Your doctor can help you position padding on your feet or in your shoes.
salicylic acid to soften the callus or corn. You can
then rub the callus or corn 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
- Use metatarsal bar inserts for your shoes, to
distribute your weight more evenly over the ball of your foot. Athletes who run
a lot may wear orthotic shoe inserts for the same purpose.
Surgery is rarely used to treat calluses
or corns.1 But if a bone structure (such
hammer toe or
bunion) is causing a callus or corn, surgery can be
used to change or remove the bone structure. This is used only if other
treatment has failed. If treatment for soft corns does not work, the skin
between the bases of the two toes can be sewn together (syndactylization). This
creates a partial webbing where the soft corn had been. Another corn cannot
form over this webbing.