Corns (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

When should you seek professional treatment for corns or calluses?

If the corn bothers you and doesn't respond to salicylic acid and trimming, you might consider seeing a physician or podiatrist who can physically pare corns with scalpels. Podiatrists also can measure and fit you with orthotic devices to redistribute your weight on your feet while you walk so that pressure from the foot bones doesn't focus on your corns. (Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one size fits all and may not be effective.)

People with fragile skin or poor circulation in the feet (including many people with diabetes or peripheral arterial disease) should consult their health-care professional as soon as corns or calluses develop. Further, you should seek medical care immediately if corns or calluses show signs of infection (such as increasing pain, the presence of pus or other drainage, swelling, and redness).

Surgery for corns is rarely necessary. When a corn is surgically removed, the pressure that caused it to form in the first place will just make it come back if this pressure is not removed or reduced. When necessary, surgery for corns involves shaving the underlying bone or correcting any deformity that is causing undue pressure or friction on the skin.

What is the prognosis for corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are not serious conditions and can be managed with home care remedies or medical treatment. Surgery is very rarely necessary. However, even with management, corns and calluses may recur if there is continued pressure or friction on the affected area.

How can corns and calluses be prevented?

In many situations, calluses and corns can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the hands and feet. Potential preventive measures therefore include the following:

  1. Wearing well-fitting, comfortable shoes is useful. The idea is to avoid having footgear press on the outside of the fifth toe or pressing the fourth and fifth toes together to prevent corns in these areas;
  2. Another approach is to pad the potentially affected area. Many sorts of padding are available at the drugstore:
    • cushions to put between the toes;
    • foam or moleskin pads to put over the places where corns form;
    • foam pads with holes in the center (like donuts or bagels), which redistribute pressure around the corn instead of right over it;
    • cushioned insoles to pad your feet and alleviate mechanical pressure.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/3/2012

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Corns - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your corns?
Corns - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with your corns?
Corns and Calluses - Seeing a Doctor Question: If you have corns or calluses, what were your reasons for seeking medical help?
Corns and Calluses - Prevention Question: How do you prevent recurrences of corns or calluses? Have you changed the type or style of shoes you wear?
Corns and Calluses - Risks Question: Are your shoes too tight? Explain the reasons why you think you developed corns or calluses.

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!