Corns

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideCommon Causes of Foot Pain

Common Causes of Foot Pain

How can corns and calluses be treated? Are there home remedies for corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses can be treated with many types of medicated products to chemically pare down the thickened, dead skin. Many products are available for use as home remedies. These products all share the same active ingredient -- salicylic acid, the ingredient used in over-the-counter wart-removal products.

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic, which means it dissolves the protein (keratin) that makes up most of both the corn and the thick layer of dead skin which often tops it. Used as indicated on the package directions, these products are gentle and safe for most people. Salicylic-acid treatments are available in different forms including

  • applicators,
  • drops,
  • pads,
  • plasters.

All of these treatments will turn the top of the skin white and allow the dead tissue to be trimmed or peeled away, making the corn protrude and hurt less.

It generally is recommended that salicylic acid not be used by people with diabetes or when there is frail skin or poor circulation (because of concern about how the skin can heal). In these situations, application of salicylic acid can potentially lead to ulcer formation on the skin. A health-care professional can help determine whether salicylic acid-based products are safe for use on a particular individual.

Do not attempt to cut or shave away corns and calluses at home. This can lead to potentially dangerous infection of the surrounding tissues. This should be performed by a podiatrist or other health-care professional.

A health-care professional may also prescribe antibiotics for any corns or calluses that have become infected.

Reviewed on 4/26/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Hogan, Daniel J. "Corns." Medscape.com. Sept. 18, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1089807-overview>.

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

IMAGES:

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2."Corns" by Marionette / iStock

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