Largo Foot and Ankle Health Center
1450 Mercantile Lane
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Corns and Calluses
Last month's article focused on the symptoms and diagnosis of corns and calluses. This month's article will focus on prevention and treatment.
In most cases, you can help to prevent corns and calluses by wearing shoes that fit properly. In particular, choose low-heeled, comfortable shoes that have enough space around the toes. Wear socks to cushion any areas of unusual rubbing or pressure. Use doughnut-shaped pads that fit over a corn and decrease pressure and friction.
If your corns and calluses are painful, your podiatrist will shave away some of the thickened skin to relieve pain and pressure in the affected area. Although many people can do this themselves, podiatrists can make sure the procedure is done safely. Your podiatrist also may recommend that you modify your footwear to prevent your problem from returning.
For example, pads or “donuts” made of moleskin, lamb's wool, foam or felt will cushion the affected area. Corrective shoe inserts will redistribute the forces that cause friction and pressure inside your shoes, relieving some of the stress on your feet when you walk.
Your podiatrist may ask you to return regularly to have your feet examined and your corns and calluses shaved, if necessary. You also can minimize corns by regularly rubbing them with a pumice stone, which is available in most podiatrist offices.
Foot surgery may be necessary to treat corns and calluses that keep returning and are not relieved by padding, shoe inserts and periodic shaving. Never try to shave or cut a corn or callus on your own.
Instead, use a pumice stone to trim it down safely. Also, you can use nonprescription medications to dissolve corns and calluses. These treatments commonly contain salicylic acid, which may cause irritations, burns, or infections that are more serious than the corn or callus. However, people with diabetes, poor circulation, reduced feeling or no flexibility, eyesight should avoid these products.
When To Call a Professional
Make an appointment to see your podiatrist if you have painful corns or calluses. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, examine your feet every day. For the best view, use a mirror to inspect the soles of your feet and the skin folds between your toes. If you see an area of redness, swelling, bleeding, blisters or any other problem, call your doctor/podiatrist promptly.