When it comes to foot health, corns and calluses can be a common source of discomfort. These thickened areas of skin can develop due to friction or pressure, often caused by ill-fitting shoes or repetitive activities. If left untreated, corns and calluses can worsen and cause pain with every step. That’s why it’s important to take steps to soothe and alleviate foot corn callus discomfort. In this article, we will provide you with tips and strategies to help you achieve comfortable steps and maintain optimal foot health. Whether you’re seeking non-surgical solutions or surgical interventions, LMD Podiatry, led by board-certified Dr. Lauren Dabakaroff, offers state-of-the-art diagnostics and personalized care to cater to your unique needs.

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Understanding Foot Corn and Callus

What are foot corn and callus?

Foot corn and callus are common skin conditions that occur on the feet, particularly on weight-bearing areas such as the soles and heels. They are areas of thickened and hardened skin that can cause discomfort and pain.

A foot corn is a small, localized area of thickened skin that typically develops on the top or side of the toes. It often appears as a hard, cone-shaped bump with a central core, which can be tender and painful when pressed or rubbed against footwear.

Callus, on the other hand, is a larger, more diffuse area of thickened skin that can develop on various parts of the foot, such as the ball, heel, or sides. It is usually less painful than a corn and appears as a broader, more flattened patch of hardened skin.

Causes of foot corn and callus

The primary cause of foot corn and callus is excessive pressure and friction on the skin. This can be due to a variety of factors, including:

Symptoms of foot corn and callus

The symptoms of foot corn and callus can vary depending on the severity and location of the thickened skin. Common symptoms include:

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Prevention and Home Remedies

Wear comfortable and properly fitting shoes

One of the most effective ways to prevent foot corn and callus is to wear comfortable and properly fitting shoes. Shoes that are too tight or have narrow toe boxes can compress the toes, causing friction and pressure on the skin. Opt for shoes that have enough room for your toes to move freely and that provide adequate cushioning and support.

Use protective padding or insoles

If you are prone to developing corns or calluses, using protective padding or insoles can help reduce friction and pressure on the affected areas. There are various over-the-counter options available, such as adhesive pads or cushions, gel inserts, or silicone toe sleeves. These can provide an extra layer of protection and cushioning for your feet.

Soak and exfoliate the affected area

Regularly soaking your feet in warm water can help soften the thickened skin and make it easier to remove. Use a foot soak or add Epsom salt to the water for added benefits. After soaking, gently exfoliate the affected area using a pumice stone or a foot file. This helps remove dead skin cells and smooth out rough patches.

Apply moisturizer regularly

To keep your feet moisturized and prevent dryness, apply a thick foot cream or lotion regularly. Moisturizing the skin can help prevent the formation of corns and calluses by keeping the skin soft and supple. Look for products that contain ingredients like urea, lactic acid, or salicylic acid, as these can help further soften and exfoliate the skin.

Avoid excessive pressure or friction on the feet

One of the key preventive measures for foot corn and callus is to avoid excessive pressure or friction on the feet. This can be achieved by:

Over-the-Counter Treatment Options

Corn and callus removers

There are various over-the-counter products available for the treatment of foot corn and callus. These include:

Salicylic acid treatments

Salicylic acid treatments are commonly used for the removal of foot corn and callus. Salicylic acid helps break down the thickened skin and promote exfoliation. These treatments are available as creams, gels, or patches and should be used according to the instructions provided. It is important to be cautious while using salicylic acid treatments and avoid applying them on healthy skin or open wounds.

Medical Treatments

Seeking professional advice from a podiatrist

If your foot corn or callus persists or causes severe pain, it is advisable to seek professional advice from a podiatrist. A podiatrist can accurately diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment options based on the severity and location of the corn or callus.

Debriding or trimming the corn or callus

In some cases, a podiatrist may need to debride or trim the corn or callus to provide temporary relief. This involves carefully removing the thickened skin using sterile instruments. It is essential to have this done by a professional to avoid any complications or infection.

Prescription-strength medications

For more severe cases of foot corn and callus, a podiatrist may prescribe stronger medications. These may include topical creams or ointments that contain higher concentrations of active ingredients like salicylic acid or urea. Prescription-strength medications are typically used when over-the-counter treatments have not been effective.

Custom orthotics or footwear

In some cases, a podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics or footwear modifications to address the underlying causes of foot corn and callus. These can include custom-made insoles or inserts that provide better support and weight distribution. Adjustments to footwear, such as widening the toe box or adding padding, may also be recommended to reduce pressure and friction on specific areas of the feet.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

Using over-the-counter pain relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with foot corn and callus. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare professional if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications.

Applying cold or warm compresses

Applying cold or warm compresses to the affected area can provide temporary relief from pain and reduce inflammation. Use a cold compress for acute pain or swelling, and a warm compress for soothing relief. Wrap the compress in a thin towel or cloth before applying it to the skin to prevent direct contact and potential skin damage.

Using cushioning or padding for added comfort

Using cushioning or padding can provide added comfort and reduce pressure on foot corn and callus. There are various adhesive pads or cushions available that can be placed directly on the affected area. These help distribute the weight evenly and protect the corn or callus from friction.

When to Seek Professional Help

Persistent or worsening pain

If you experience persistent or worsening pain despite using home remedies or over-the-counter treatments, it is important to seek professional help. A podiatrist can evaluate your condition, determine the underlying cause, and recommend appropriate treatment options to relieve the pain.

Signs of infection

If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, warmth, or pus drainage, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Infections can occur if the corn or callus becomes irritated or if there is a break in the skin, providing an entry point for bacteria. Prompt treatment is necessary to prevent the infection from spreading.

Difficulty walking or performing daily activities

If foot corn or callus significantly hinders your ability to walk or perform daily activities, it is advisable to seek professional help. A podiatrist can assess the severity of the corn or callus, provide appropriate treatment, and suggest strategies to alleviate the impact on your mobility and quality of life.

Diabetic Foot Care and Corns/Calluses

Importance of regular foot exams for diabetics

For individuals with diabetes, proper foot care is crucial to prevent complications and infections. Diabetics are more prone to developing foot corn and callus due to poor circulation and reduced sensation in the feet. Regular foot exams by a podiatrist can help detect any abnormalities or early signs of foot problems and ensure prompt treatment.

Special considerations for corns and calluses in diabetics

Corns and calluses in diabetics require special attention due to the increased risk of skin breakdown and ulceration. Diabetics should avoid self-treatment and seek professional advice from a podiatrist. The podiatrist can provide appropriate treatment options and help manage the underlying factors contributing to the development of corns and calluses.

Avoiding self-treatment in diabetics

Self-treatment of foot corn and callus is strongly discouraged in diabetics. The use of over-the-counter treatments or improper removal techniques can result in skin damage, cuts, or infections. Diabetics should always consult a healthcare professional and follow their guidance to ensure proper care and prevent potential complications.

Lifestyle Changes for Prevention

Maintaining proper foot hygiene

Maintaining proper foot hygiene is essential for preventing foot corn and callus. Regularly wash and dry your feet, paying attention to the areas between the toes. Use a mild soap and avoid leaving the feet damp, as excessive moisture can promote the growth of fungus and bacteria.

Wearing appropriate footwear

Wearing appropriate footwear plays a significant role in preventing foot corn and callus. Choose shoes that provide adequate support, have cushioned soles, and allow sufficient room for your toes to move. Avoid shoes with high heels, narrow toe boxes, or stiff materials that can cause pressure and friction on the feet.

Regularly moisturizing the feet

Regularly moisturizing the feet helps keep the skin soft and supple, reducing the risk of developing foot corn and callus. Apply a moisturizing cream or lotion to your feet daily, paying attention to the heels and other areas prone to dryness. Avoid applying moisturizers between the toes, as excessive moisture can increase the risk of fungal infections.

Taking breaks and avoiding prolonged standing or walking

Taking regular breaks and avoiding prolonged standing or walking can help prevent the development of foot corn and callus. If your work or daily activities involve prolonged periods of standing, try to take short breaks and change positions regularly. Use a stool or footrest to elevate your feet whenever possible to reduce pressure.

Role of Routine Foot Care

Regular podiatric check-ups

Regular podiatric check-ups are essential for maintaining foot health and preventing foot problems, including corns and calluses. A podiatrist can assess the condition of your feet, identify any abnormalities or potential issues, and provide guidance on preventive measures and appropriate treatment.

Routine foot care as a preventive measure

Routine foot care, including regular cleaning, moisturizing, and trimming of nails, is a preventive measure that can help reduce the risk of foot corn and callus. By maintaining good foot hygiene and addressing minor foot issues promptly, you can minimize the chances of developing more significant problems.

Identification and treatment of corns and calluses at an early stage

Routine foot care allows for the early identification and treatment of corns and calluses. By seeking professional help and addressing these issues at an early stage, you can prevent them from progressing and causing further discomfort or complications. This includes proper removal techniques and the use of appropriate treatments recommended by a podiatrist.


In conclusion, foot corn and callus are common foot conditions that can cause discomfort and pain. By understanding the causes and symptoms, as well as implementing preventive measures and home remedies, you can soothe foot corn and callus. Over-the-counter treatments and medical interventions are available for more severe cases. It is important to manage pain and discomfort and seek professional help if necessary. Diabetics should be particularly cautious and avoid self-treatment. By making lifestyle changes and prioritizing routine foot care, you can prevent and manage foot corn and callus effectively. Remember, timely treatment and prevention are essential for maintaining foot health and comfortable steps.

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