Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin on the feet that can cause irritation, pain, and difficulty walking or engaging in physical activity. Corns, which are small calluses on the toes, occur when there is pressure on the skin from bones in the toes pushing against a shoe. The layer of skin where the pressure occurs can thicken and develop, which can irritate layers of tissue underneath and cause two types of corns:

  • Hard corns – Hard corns typically affect the tops of toes or even the outside of the smallest toe. Often, these areas receive the most pressure when poorly fitted shoes are worn.
  • Soft corns – Soft corns more closely resemble open sores and form in between the toes, particularly between the two smallest toes. These types of corns are softer due to sweat and moisture between the toes, and they can sometimes become infected.

Poor fitting shoes are the most common cause of corns. Shoes that are too tight, for example, can squeeze the toes and create pressure. Loose shoes can also create pressure and friction when the toes slide or rub against the inner portion of the shoe. Corns may also result from deformities such as hammer toe or claw toe, wearing high heels, seems or stitching inside a shoe, and poor fitting socks.

Treatment for Corns

Our South Bay foot and ankle specialists at Torrance Memorial Physician Network can conduct personalized evaluations to accurately diagnose corns and determine the most appropriate treatment approach.

Nonsurgical approaches to treating corns include:

  • Trimming – To relieve irritation, restore the normal contour of the skin, dead layers of skin on the corn can be trimmed or pared down using a scalpel. Due to risks, especially among patients with other conditions, it is widely advised that you do not attempt to cut or shave a corn without a professional’s assistance.
  • Shoe modifications – Shoe modifications can help reduce pressure on the toes and relieve pain. Following trimming, wearing proper fitting shoes can help prevent recurrence, as well as soaking, using a pumice stone, and moisturizing the area should it begin to thicken. Cushioning pads, insoles, and toe protection can also alleviate pressure.
  • Infections – In cases where a corn or callus becomes infected, often when there is soreness and redness in the affected area, patients can be treated safely and effectively with antibiotics.

In some cases, corns may be caused by an underlying condition of the foot or toes. If a condition such as a toe deformity is discovered during an evaluation, surgery may be used to correct the condition and alleviate the cause of corns.

A Comprehensive Approach to Patient Care

Treating corns is a comprehensive effort, which is why our physicians work to identify all possible causes, treat any underlying conditions and work closely with patients to educate them about how they can address symptoms or issues on their own to prevent recurrence after treatment. Call today to request an appointment with one of our specialists.