In “Dealing With Corn Calluses: Tips And Tricks,” you will discover expert advice and valuable insights on how to effectively manage and treat corn calluses. Led by Dr. Lauren Dabakaroff, a board-certified podiatrist at LMD Podiatry, this article provides you with comprehensive information to address this common foot ailment. From understanding the causes of corn calluses to implementing practical strategies for prevention and treatment, you’ll gain the knowledge needed to prioritize your foot health and alleviate discomfort. With LMD Podiatry’s state-of-the-art diagnostics and commitment to patient-centered care, you can trust that you’re in good hands. So, whether you’re seeking relief from corn calluses or simply looking to enhance your foot care routine, this article is your go-to resource for tips and tricks.

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Causes of Corn Calluses

Corn calluses, also known as helomas, are thickened areas of skin that develop in response to friction or pressure. The main cause of corn calluses is excessive pressure on the skin, usually over bony prominences such as the toes or the balls of the feet. This pressure can be caused by ill-fitting shoes, walking or standing for prolonged periods, or certain foot deformities such as bunions or hammertoes. Additionally, activities that involve repetitive motions or high impact on the feet, such as running or dancing, can contribute to the development of corn calluses.

Risk Factors for Corn Calluses

Certain factors increase the risk of developing corn calluses. Poorly fitting shoes, such as those that are too tight or have high heels, can increase pressure on specific areas of the feet, leading to the formation of corn calluses. People who have foot deformities like bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet are also more likely to develop corn calluses. Furthermore, individuals who engage in activities that involve repetitive or excessive pressure on the feet, such as athletes or individuals with specific occupations, are at a higher risk.

Signs and Symptoms of Corn Calluses

Corn calluses are typically easy to identify due to their distinct appearance. They appear as thick and hardened areas of skin that have a cone-shaped or circular appearance. Corn calluses may vary in size and can be surrounded by red or inflamed skin. They often cause discomfort or pain, especially when pressure is applied to the affected area. In some cases, corn calluses may become sensitive to touch, and blisters or open sores can develop within the corn.

Diagnosis of Corn Calluses

In most cases, corn calluses can be diagnosed through a physical examination. A podiatrist or healthcare professional will inspect the affected area and evaluate the size, shape, and location of the corn callus. They may also inquire about your medical history and inquire about any symptoms or discomfort you are experiencing. In some cases, an X-ray or other imaging tests may be ordered to assess for any underlying foot deformities or structural abnormalities that may be contributing to the development of corn calluses.

Home Remedies for Corn Calluses

There are several home remedies that can provide relief from corn calluses and aid in their removal.

Soaking the Feet

Soaking the feet in warm water can help soften the corn calluses, making them easier to remove. It is recommended to add Epsom salt or a foot soak product to the water to enhance the softening effect. Soak the feet for about 15-20 minutes and gently scrub the corn callus with a pumice stone or a washcloth.

Exfoliating the Skin

Regular exfoliation of the skin can help prevent the buildup of dead skin cells, reducing the risk of corn callus formation. Using a gentle exfoliating scrub or a foot file, gently remove the dead skin around the corn callus. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it may cause pain or damage the surrounding healthy skin.

Using Over-the-Counter Corn Pads

Over-the-counter corn pads can provide cushioning and pressure relief to the corn callus. These pads usually contain salicylic acid, which helps soften the corn and promote its gradual removal. It is important to follow the instructions carefully when using corn pads and avoid applying them to open sores or infected areas.

Wearing Properly Fitting Shoes

One of the key strategies for preventing and managing corn calluses is wearing shoes that fit properly. Choose shoes that have a wide toe box and provide adequate support and cushioning. Avoid tight-fitting shoes or those with high heels, as they can increase pressure on the feet and contribute to the formation of corn calluses.

Applying Moisturizers

Regularly moisturizing the feet can help keep the skin soft and supple, reducing the risk of corn calluses. Choose a moisturizer specifically formulated for the feet and apply it after bathing or soaking the feet. Pay special attention to the areas prone to corn calluses and massage the moisturizer into the skin.

Avoiding High Heels

High heels can put excessive pressure on the balls of the feet and toes, increasing the risk of corn callus formation. Avoid wearing high heels for prolonged periods, especially when engaging in activities that involve a lot of walking or standing. Opt for shoes with lower heels or flats that provide better support and distribute weight more evenly.

corn callus on bottom of foot

Medical Treatments for Corn Calluses

In some cases, home remedies may not be sufficient in removing or managing corn calluses. In such instances, medical treatments provided by a podiatrist or healthcare professional may be necessary.

Trimming or Shaving the Corns

A podiatrist can use special tools to trim or shave down the corn callus, reducing its size and relieving discomfort. This procedure should only be performed by a trained professional to prevent damage to the surrounding healthy skin. It is important to note that trimming or shaving the corns is a temporary solution and may require ongoing maintenance to prevent regrowth.

Prescription Medications

In certain cases, a healthcare professional may prescribe medications to treat corn calluses. These medications may include topical creams or ointments containing stronger concentrations of salicylic acid or other keratolytic agents. Prescription-strength treatments may be more effective in softening and removing corn calluses for individuals who do not respond to over-the-counter options.

Orthotic Devices

Orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or pads, can be used to redistribute pressure and provide cushioning to the affected areas of the feet. A podiatrist can assess your foot structure and recommend custom orthotics tailored to your specific needs. Orthotic devices can help prevent corn callus formation and reduce discomfort for individuals with foot deformities or structural abnormalities.


In severe cases where other treatments have been unsuccessful, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgery aims to correct any underlying foot deformities or structural abnormalities that are contributing to the development of corn calluses. By addressing the root cause, surgical procedures can provide long-term relief and reduce the risk of recurrent corn calluses.

Preventing Corn Calluses

Prevention plays a crucial role in managing corn calluses and maintaining foot health. By following these preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of corn callus formation:

Wearing Comfortable Shoes

Choosing shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support is essential in preventing corn calluses. Avoid shoes that are too tight or narrow, as they can increase pressure on the feet. Instead, opt for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your toes to move freely. Look for shoes made from breathable materials to prevent excessive sweating and friction.

Using Cushioning Inserts or Orthotics

Using cushioning inserts or orthotic devices can help distribute pressure evenly and provide support to vulnerable areas of the feet. Inserts or orthotics can be purchased over-the-counter or obtained with professional guidance from a podiatrist. They should be replaced regularly to maintain effectiveness and prevent excessive wear and tear.

Maintaining Good Foot Hygiene

Proper foot hygiene is essential for preventing corn calluses. Keep your feet clean and dry, paying special attention to the spaces between your toes. Moisture can contribute to the development of corn calluses, so it is important to dry your feet thoroughly after bathing or swimming. Additionally, regularly change your socks to reduce the risk of excessive moisture accumulation.

Trimming Toenails Properly

Trimming your toenails properly can help prevent corn calluses. Cut your toenails straight across and avoid rounding the corners to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails. Keeping your toenails at a moderate length can prevent them from exerting pressure on the adjacent areas of the toes, reducing the likelihood of corn callus formation.

Avoiding Excessive Pressure on Feet

Avoiding excessive pressure on the feet is crucial in preventing corn calluses. Take regular breaks when engaging in activities that involve prolonged standing or walking. If your occupation or lifestyle requires extended periods of time on your feet, consider using supportive footwear or incorporating foot exercises and stretches to alleviate pressure.

When to See a Podiatrist

While corn calluses can often be managed with home remedies and preventive measures, there are certain situations where it is advisable to seek medical attention from a podiatrist:

Persistent Pain or Discomfort

If you are experiencing persistent pain or discomfort despite using home remedies and self-care measures, it is recommended to consult a podiatrist. They can assess the extent of the corn callus, identify any underlying issues, and provide appropriate treatment options to alleviate pain.

Difficulty Walking

If corn calluses are interfering with your ability to walk or causing changes in your gait, it is important to seek professional help. A podiatrist can evaluate your foot mechanics and provide solutions such as custom orthotics or physical therapy to improve your mobility.

Diabetes or Circulation Problems

Individuals with diabetes or circulation problems should be especially cautious when dealing with corn calluses. Due to reduced sensation or impaired blood flow, corn calluses can lead to serious complications such as ulcers or infections. It is essential to seek prompt medical attention from a podiatrist to prevent further complications.

Frequent Recurrence of Corns

If corn calluses continue to reappear despite using preventive measures, it is advisable to consult with a podiatrist. They can assess potential underlying causes, such as foot deformities or gait abnormalities, and recommend appropriate treatments to address the root cause and prevent recurrent corn calluses.

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Complications of Untreated Corn Calluses

Leaving corn calluses untreated can lead to potential complications. Continuous pressure and friction on the affected area can result in the development of open sores or ulcers, which can become infected. These infections can spread to deeper tissues, leading to cellulitis or even bone infections. Individuals with diabetes or compromised immune systems are particularly at risk for these complications and should seek medical attention promptly.


Corn calluses are a common foot problem caused by excessive pressure or friction on the skin. While they can cause discomfort and pain, corn calluses can often be managed with home remedies and preventive measures. However, in some cases, medical treatments provided by a podiatrist may be necessary to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. By following proper foot hygiene, wearing comfortable shoes, and seeking timely medical attention when needed, you can effectively prevent and manage corn calluses, allowing you to maintain healthy and pain-free feet.

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