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Corns and calluses : Advice Sheet


Corns and calluses are thick, hard areas of skin that develop on the feet. They are typically caused by friction on the skin, often as a result of badly fitting (often tight) shoes or because you have done a lot of running or walking, which puts pressure on the feet.

Corns are typically small circles of dry skin that occur on the feet. Hard corns can dig deep into the skin, sometimes making them painful. They tend to form on the toes where tight shoes may have rubbed against the skin. Soft corns often occur between the toes and remain soft as sweat tends to build up in these enclosed spaces. Soft corns are more prone to infection because of the environment in which they develop.

Calluses are generally bigger than corns. They are common on the sole of the foot and are generally less painful than corns, although they can be painful.

Both corns and calluses are very common.

How will you be treated for corns and calluses?

A podiatrist can examine your feet to confirm if you have a corn or callus. It is possible to cut away at the skin of the corn or callus, but this may need to be done more than once.

Advice can also be provided by a podiatrist on the most suitable shoes for you to wear. In addition, they can help you to choose the best over-the-counter medication that can be purchased from your local pharmacist. These include, for example, creams and special plasters, as well as padding and insoles.

If a corn or callus becomes infected, your doctor will need to prescribe you some antibiotics.

Surgery is a last option if you are in pain and discomfort, and no other treatments have been effective.

What can you do to help yourself if you have corns and calluses?

Always wear shoes that allow space for your toes. It is important to avoid wearing high heels or tight-fitting footwear as these can cause corns and calluses, or make existing ones worse. It is advisable to wear shoes that are soft on top and going barefoot at home is good for your feet too. Adjusting any badly-fitting footwear will stop the corn or callus from getting worse and could significantly improve any current corns and calluses.

Wash your feet in warm soapy water daily and always dry them thoroughly.

Remove any existing hard dry skin with a pumice stone.

Wearing a footpad can be helpful to take the pressure off a corn or callus.

Please remember, if you need any further advice then you can email us at [email protected]

For more information about Corns and calluses

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    1. NHS Choices,? [accessed 27 January 2012].,?[accessed 31 January 2012].


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