What (and What NOT) to Do About Your Corns or Calluses

Even in the best-case scenario, corns and calluses can be unsightly, embarrassing nuisances. Certainly, no one enjoys having patches of thick, rough, raised, waxy, and/or tender skin under their feet or along their toes.

But in many cases, they can be painful—especially corns. If you have an area of tender or inflamed skin in a sensitive spot, it may become difficult to walk normally or wear your favorite pair of shoes.

So, naturally, most people want to get rid of their corns and calluses. The problem, unfortunately, is that many “home treatments” will actually make your problem worse.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the things you can and should do to deal with your calluses, and also the things you definitely should not do. But first, it helps to have a little background about what corns and calluses.

What Are Corns and Calluses?

It’s important to clarify that, although they are similar, they are not the same thing.

  • Corns typically appear cone-shaped, with a hard center surrounded by soft, tender skin. They tend to hurt when you press on them.
  • Calluses are usually broad and flat, much larger than corns, and are usually not painful.

Both are part of your skin’s natural response to protect itself from irritating physical forces. The main difference comes from whether that irritation is mostly about friction or pressure.

Although they can form on your soles, corns typically appear on spots of your feet that do not bear weight—especially the tops and sides of toes. These are spots where your skin might be being pinched and rubbed against by shoes.

Calluses, on the other hand, almost exclusively form in load-bearing areas, especially the heels and the balls of the feet.

What Can I Do About Them?

You should never completely ignore a corn or callus, even if it is not currently causing you pain.

Although these problems may not necessarily require professional treatment, they indicate that something is wrong, either with your feet, your shoes, or your activities. If you don’t make the appropriate changes, corns and calluses are likely to persist, and you may be at greater risk of additional injuries or infections.

The first decision you should make is whether you want to try dealing with the problem at home at first, or if you should visit our office for professional treatment.

  • If you are physically healthy and your corns and calluses are not causing you any physical pain or preventing you from engaging in your activities, feel free to attempt home treatments first.
  • If you have diabetes or any condition that affects circulation or nerve function, do not attempt home care on your own. Call us first. You are at much higher risk of complications.
  • if your calluses or corns are causing pain and discomfort, your home treatments haven’t been working to your satisfaction, or you just want them gone as quickly and safely as possible, we are always here to help.

Home remedies that can and should be pursued (if you have no underlying health problems you need to check with us about) include:

  • Removing the source of friction and pressure. The main problem that most people have is that they are wearing shoes that are too tight. Always wear comfortable shoes that give your toes room to wiggle, with comfortable and breathable socks.
  • Protecting the irritated skin. Non-medicated pads can be used on painful corns while they are healing.
  • Thinning the skin. Immediately after a bath, shower, or foot soak, you may use a pumice stone, emery board, or nail file to gently remove some of the thickened, dead skin. Remove no more than a single layer at a time.
  • Keeping your skin moisturized. Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream after your foot soak (and thinning the dead skin) to lock in that moisture.

If you need professional help for your corns or calluses, we can trim down the extra layers of thickened or dead skin with sterile office instruments.

We will also take a close look at your feet and shoes to determine if there are any other preventative care options that would be relevant to you. For example, it may be that an abnormality in your foot shape is causing you to develop corns over and over in the same area. A set of orthotics may be the perfect solution to address this problem.

What NOT to Do About Corns and Calluses

Far too often, we see patients who tried to take matters into their own hands, and it led to disastrous results. We want to make sure you deal with your corns and calluses safely and effectively.

Here are the things you should never do:

  • Never cut your corns or calluses with a sharp tool. This kind of “bathroom surgery” is extremely risky, and greatly increases your odds of developing a nasty (or even dangerous) infection.
  • Never use medicated corn pads. We discourage the use of medicated pads or over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid or other peeling medications. Without the oversight of a trained podiatrist, there’s too great a risk that you will accidentally damage healthy skin.
  • Never thin your corns or calluses too aggressively. Gently remove no more than a single layer of skin at a time after you bathe.

And, one more time: if you have diabetes, never try to deal with a corn or callus yourself. Let us handle it. We want to make absolutely certain you avoid developing an ulcer or other complication.

If you need (or just desire) our help dealing with your corns or calluses, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. You can reach the office of Trinity Foot Center in DeSoto, TX by dialing (972) 293-9650.

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Office Hours
Monday 8:00am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 8:00am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8:00am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Friday 8:00am - Noon


p. (972) 293-9650
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1801 N. Hampton Road
Suite 340
DeSoto, TX 75115

Inside the Inwood National Bank Building on the 3rd Floor

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