The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Corns and Calluses: Treatment & Prevention

Posted by on Friday, January 24th, 2014


The callus on the bottom center of my foot doesn’t cause me any pain. It just irritates me knowing it’s there. I feel as though I’ve failed my feet in some way — neglected and abused them past the point of no repair. Thankfully I don’t have any corns, but I know more than one high heel lover who does… and they hate the unsightly bumps. Corns are often more painful since the knobby center often presses down on a nerve.

corns and calluses
Corns can be annoying and unsightly.
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The fact of the matter is that we all want rosy, fleshy feet that are as smooth as a baby’s bottom — not hardened, dead, yellowed, dry-looking skin. This report will tell you all you need to know about these pesky little foot conditions and what you might do about them.

What Causes Corns & Calluses?

Ill-fitting shoes and high heels are notorious offenders for causing corns, especially alongside the little toe.

High impact exercise — like jogging or aerobics — is another culprit. It must have been all those years of basketball, track and field, and aerobics that contributed to my condition. My feet sure get a lot of wear and tear!

– Physical conditions — such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, crooked toes, or cerebral palsy — that alter how a person walks can also cause friction in certain areas of the foot.

– Poor sock choice causes corns, especially if the fit is too tight around the toes.

– Loose shoes that allow the foot to slide around a lot are just as bad as tight shoes.

– Walking on hard surfaces regularly builds up calluses on the feet.

– Flat feet are more prone to developing calluses as well.

Preventing Corns & Calluses

Your best defense against corns and calluses are well-padded shoes that fit, according to podiatrists at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City. Tight socks and stockings can be problematic, so whenever possible you’ll want to put on thick, padded socks to absorb pressure. When buying shoes, look for wide, roomy toe-boxes and soft cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot regions. Over-the-counter or custom gel insoles work wonders to relieve the type of uneven pressure that causes calluses.

corn pads
These little cushions can relieve a lot of the pressure that make corns painful.
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Treating Corns & Calluses

Applying lanolin cream or petroleum jelly to the affected area can soften the skin. Doughnut-shaped corn pads protect you from further injury, and also decrease pressure. Placing cotton, lamb’s wool or mole skin padding between the toes can cushion the corns there, says The New York Times. 

Actually getting rid of corns and calluses is a much more unsavory experience. Mild cases can be soaked in warm water for five minutes to soften, and then gently sanded with a pumice stone. If you’re like me — and a little bit squeamish or ticklish around the toes — you can see a podiatrist or spa technician who can help.

However, more stubborn, persistent corns and calluses require treatment with medicated solutions or pads containing salicylic acid. This is the same type of acid used in wart removal and it can be very abrasive to the skin. It can cause irritation, burns, and tissue death, so this removal method is not recommended for diabetics, neuropathy patients and the elderly.


If you need help with corns and calluses in NYC, click here to book an appointment online.


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.