The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Understanding Diabetes Foot Care: How Are Corns & Calluses Treated?

Posted by on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013


It is estimated that 65 out of 1,000 people have a corn or a callus. These skin aberrations may not seem like a big deal, because often, they cause little — if any — pain to the person who has them. However, for a diabetic, these little foot blights can open up the body to infection and cause ulcers that may lead to amputation or even death! No foot issue, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should be overlooked by a diabetic. Learn more about corns and calluses in today’s post…

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The New York Times defines a corn as “a protective layer of dead skin cells that forms due to repeated friction.” Corns are cone-shaped and knobby, and pressure on them can cause sharp pain. They most often develop along the pinky toe, but they can also form on top of or between toes. They can be hard or soft, depending on how much sweating and moisture that part of the foot receives. Sometimes corns develop as the result of deformed or crooked toes, but they are most often formed by tight shoes that place too much pressure on the foot.

Though there are many over-the-counter remedies on the market, the NY Times states that these products are “not recommended for people with diabetes.” Medicated corn pads often use salicylic acid, which causes an open wound to form on the foot. Normally, the tissue would heal over the wound, but the nerve damage and limited circulation diabetics suffer causes these wounds to heal slower — which opens up the possibility for infection and ulceration. A trusted NY podiatrist can gently remove the corn in office and treat the small wound with a dermal matrix to protect it from infection.


“Calluses occur more often and build up faster on the feet of people with diabetes,” according to the American Diabetes Association. High-pressure areas under the foot may require the use of therapeutic shoes and inserts to keep a person’s weight more evenly distributed. A study published by Sage et al. in 2001 found that over 82% of patients with diabetic foot ulcers also had calluses on their feet that preceded ulcer formation. Calluses can get very thick, break down, and cause open sores. Calluses can also hide inflammation and developing ulcers.

Attempting to remove a callus yourself can cause infection, so it is very important that they be removed by a trained podiatrist. Once the callus has been removed, the American Diabetes Association says that it would be beneficial to use a pumice stone on wet skin and apply lotion every day to keep foot skin under control.

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Diabetes Foot Care At The Center For Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine

Our doctors are experienced in treating a wide range of diabetic foot conditions to ensure quick and thorough treatment in order to prevent further complications. From blisters, corns and calluses, to ingrown toenails, neuropathy and ulceration, we have advanced technology to keep your feet in tip-top shape. We also offer physical therapy and treatment for aches and pains that extend to the legs, knees and hips. If you live in New York City or White Plains, we’d love to be part of your primary diabetes care team.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.