Calluses and Corns -----

How do calluses and corns develop?

Continual pressure against the skin causes a thickening of the normal skin layers called a “callus” or “corn”. Corns are usually the result of pressure of a toe against the shoe or an adjacent toe and are sometimes located under a bone spur.

Common causes include:

  • friction of the shoe,
  • bone prominence,
  • constant irritation,
  • toe deformities, such as hammertoes – the top of the hammer toe is an area for increased pressure on the top of the toe
  • biomechanical or gait abnormalities that cause pressure under different areas of the bottom (plantar) surface of the foot (this is a common cause of callus).

Treatment Options

Treatment consists of periodic debridement and accommodation with padding. Moleskin, a type of padding, is available over-the-counter and is effective in decreasing the friction. Our office does not recommend over-the-counter “corn-removers” because these products contain a weak acid used to diminish the thick skin and can cause ulcerations if used improperly. There are some safe alternatives that we recommend in removing thick, callused skin. We also look at methods to decrease the underlying cause of the pressure if necessary, including treating the bone spur, hammertoe, bone prominence, or other causes.