Corns and Calluses

How to treat those painful corns and calluses


Symptoms: For most people, this is an area of the foot that has a sore or thick skin. They feel pain if anything touches the area. Sometimes this can get worse and actually have an ulcer or an open sore underneath. These are usually located on a toe but can be found throughout the foot.

How this happens: For most people this occurs at a later age as toe positions change and fat pads decrease. On a small toe it can be from shoes rubbing the knuckle. On the 2nd toe it can be from a hammertoe. Under the foot can come from prominent metatarsal heads, or sesamoid bones.

What to do: First part is to get pressure off the area. This can be as easy as changing to a shoe that isn’t as tight, has more space for the toes, or doesn’t rub. Using emery boards to file the excessive skin can diminish pain. There are many different types of pads and soft inserts that can make a difference.

Corn removers can be used, but a word of caution: too much can cause blisters or sores. If you are diabetic this can be even more risky as peripheral neuropathy can numb the foot. This can make serious problems go unnoticed. Also it’s good to understand that corn pads are temporary. This is because the corn or callus is due to pressure. As long as the pressure remains, the corn remains.

Soaking the feet can soften the corns or calluses. Lotions can also help. But in the end, if you are fighting to be comfortable, it is time to see a podiatrist.

What can a podiatrist do for you? A Podiatrist can get places you can’t. Some patients can’t reach the callus. Other’s can’t see it. But for most, there is a very deep core that can only be removed with the techinical skill only a podiartrist has mastered. Using a blade, these nucleated cores are removed, usually without even needing to be numb.

But even if a podiatrist removes the corn or callus it can easily return if that is the sole treatment. For that reason, your doctor will recommend additional treatment to better offload the dead skin. This will depend on your condition.

If you have a hammertoe, accessory bones, or rubbing toes, your doctor may offer better padding you haven’t tried, recommend better shoes, or help fit you for custom orthotics.

If this treatment works, then you can use it as much as you like, as it is a covered insurance procedure.

However, if this is insufficient, then you may consider hammertoe correction, bone excision, or overall remodeling, depending on the specific condition. Depending on the toe, different techinques are available to achieve this goal. The podiatrist will take an X-ray and examine the problem

Results: These results vary on the severity of the problem. Mild cases are usually successful on the patient’s level, where they can manage it themselves using the tips above. Moderate conditions involve an occasional podiatrist along with the patients’ effort. Severe aspects may in the end benefit better from surgery. This can be discussed with your foot specialist. Come in for a consult and learn what needs to be done to help your feet feel better.