Corns & Calluses

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Corns and calluses are extra cells made in a skin area that gets repeated rubbing or squeezing.

Signs & Symptoms

Ingrown Toenails

•  Corns are areas of dead skin on the tops or sides of the joints or on the skin between the toes.

•  Calluses are patches of dead skin usually found on the balls or heels of the feet, on the hands, and on the knees. Calluses are thick and feel hard to the touch.

Illustration of corns and calluses on the bottom of a foot.

Common sites on the bottom of the foot for corns and calluses.


Footwear that fits poorly causes corns and calluses. So can activities that cause friction on the hands, knees, and feet.


Self-care treats most cases. If not, a family doctor or foot doctor (podiatrist) can scrape the hardened tissue and peel away the corn with stronger solutions. Sometimes warts lie beneath corns and need to be treated, too.

Questions to Ask

Self-Care / Prevention

{Note: Persons with diabetes should see a doctor for treatment for foot problems.}

For Corns

•  Don’t pick at corns. Don’t use toenail scissors, clippers, or any sharp tool to cut off corns.

•  Don’t wear shoes that fit poorly or that squeeze your toes together.

•  Soak your feet in warm water to soften the corn.

•  Cover the corn with a protective, nonmedicated pad or bandage which you can buy at drug stores.

•  If the outer layers of a corn have peeled away, apply a nonprescription liquid of 5 to 10% salicylic acid. Gently rub the corn off with cotton gauze.

•  Ask a shoe repair person to sew a metatarsal bar onto your shoe to use when a corn is healing.

For Calluses

•  Don’t try to cut a callus off.

•  Soak your feet in warm water to soften the callus. Pat it dry.

•  Rub the callus gently with a pumice stone.

•  Cover calluses with protective pads. You can get these at drug stores.

•  Don’t wear poorly fitting shoes or other sources of friction that may lead to calluses.

•  Wear gloves for a hobby or work that puts pressure on your hands.

•  Wear knee pads for activities that put pressure on your knees.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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