Corns and calluses are growths of hard, thickened skin that result from repeated friction or pressure, explains the Nemours Foundation on Kids Health.org. Often, ill-fitting shoes are a contributing factor. Corns and calluses typically have a yellowed or grayish coloration. While they are a protective measure taken by the skin and generally harmless, they can be unsightly and painful, particularly on the toes and feet. In such cases, taking the proper steps gets rid of them.
Eliminate the source of ongoing pressure or friction that contributed to the formation of your corns or calluses. If aggravation isn’t alleviated, your corns and calluses will not heal, and removal will be followed by recurrence. This may mean better-fitting shoes that have long enough toe space and do not constrict the toes together. If a structural abnormality in your toes or feet cause chronic friction, tailored shoe inserts may be necessary. Foam wedges between the toes help some people, too. Corrective surgical procedures are sometimes necessary, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Wear corn pads over the growths to insulate them from further irritation.
Soak your feet in warm, soapy water for about 10 minutes. This will soften corns and calluses, making them easier to abrade away. With a back-and-forth motion and moderate pressure, rub a wet pumice stone over the growths, sanding the corns and calluses down. Stop after every few swipes and give your toe a quick rinse to remove pumice stone particles. Repeat as needed, making sure to stop before getting to the underlying skin surface.
Apply a topical antibiotic to the area where the corn or callus was and to surrounding skin. This is done to lower the risk of infection of abraded skin. If you got too close to the skin, use a bandage to protect the wound. Watch for signs of infection such as redness, drainage, swelling or pain, and consult a doctor if you suspect infection. Apply a moisturizer to affected skin as well to keep it soft and lower the likelihood of recurrence.
Things You’ll Need
- Shoe inserts
- Corn pad
- Pumice stone
- Topical antibiotic
- Corn pads containing salicylic acid help speed up the healing process by promoting the shedding of dead skin cells, advises the Nemours Foundation.
- If you have diabetes or circulatory problems in your legs or feet, always see your doctor for corn and callus care. Never cut or pick off a corn or callus. This can lead to painful wounds, scarring and infection.