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Corns and Calluses; Symptoms, Causes, Care and Treatment

Corns and calluses are a sign of underlying foot disorder. Our skin protects itself from external friction and pressure by building up a natural barrier in the form of thickened, hard layers of skin – given the name corns and calluses. When a callus develops a mass of thickened dead cells in the centre, it becomes a corn. Common areas where they occur are sole of the foot, tips and sides of toes, palms.


  • Thick patch of hard skin on feet or palms
  • Pain in that area when pressure is applied
  • Flaky or waxy skin
  • Hard, small, rubbery bump with a central hard area

Corns are smaller than calluses and are painful. Soft calluses occur between toes and on palms also.

Why do they occur?

Internal cause may be a faulty bone structure especially in the foot area.

Some external causes include:

  • Ill-fitting shoes and socks: that create friction and apply pressure on heels and toes.
  • Activities that increase pressure on feet eg. manual labour, athletic events
  • People who spend lot of time in standing posture giving continuous pressure on feet
  • Flat feet people are more prone
  • Continuous use of hand tools

How to cure:

  • You need to go in for medical treatment if a corn becomes painful or inflamed. Certain segment of people such as diabetics, people with neuro or arterial disease or with poor circulation of blood should take extra care so as to not get any sort of infection.
  • You also need to be careful if there is:
  • Spreading redness around corn
  • Pus like drainage with increasing pain
  • Signs of gangrene or tissue decay starts

Do not try corn treatment at home. Also, do not cut or scrape a corn/callus. It might lead to serious infections. Over the counter corn plasters are available, but they do not cure the cause of the corn, and therefore soon they reappear.

  • So the best way out is to seek a doctor’s help. He may prescribe depending on the severity of the condition:
  • Antibiotics or creams if there is an infection
  • Removal of the corn by surgical means
  • Surgery may also be performed to correct the alignment of the bone causing problem
  • Shaving off hard areas of skin where corns may appear
  • If there is a foot deformity, the doctor may prescribe tailor-made padded shoes.

Self care at home to prevent occurrence of corns:

The main approach should be to eliminate sources of friction and pressure. For this:

  • Do not wear tight shoes or socks. Go for comfortable shoes – wide toe area and low heels to minimize pressure.
  • Wear hand gloves while doing manual labour
  • Take proper foot and hand care, apply moisturizer daily to keep them moist and soft
  • Put padding on various areas of your foot to distribute pressure
  • During bathing, rub hard areas on feet with pumice stone to gradually remove thick hardened skin.

A simple home treatment to give relief:

Apply a paste of aloe vera gel and turmeric over the corn, bandage it and leave overnight. Next day soak feet in warm water for ten minutes and apply crushed garlic clove with mustard oil. Your thickened skin will gradually dissolve


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