Parkview Health Logo

Calluses and Corns


Calluses and corns are areas of thick skin caused by pressure or friction. They may cause pain when a person walks or wears shoes.

Calluses on the foot generally form on the ball of the foot, the heel, and the underside of the big toe. They often form where the foot and the beginning of a toe meet. Calluses on the feet can usually be prevented by wearing shoes that fit well.

Corns have an inner core that can be soft or hard. Soft corns are found between toes. Hard corns may form on the top of a toe. Corns caused by poorly fitting shoes will often go away with the right size shoe. Using protective padding to cushion the corn can help relieve pain while the toe heals.

Calluses and corns may also be caused by other things, including a person's activities (such as a callus on the bottom of a runner's foot), how a person walks (their gait), or the bone structure of their feet.

Calluses and corns are not caused by a virus and are not contagious.

A person who has diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, peripheral neuropathy, or other conditions that cause circulatory problems or numbness should talk to a doctor before trying any treatment for calluses or corns.

How can you care for calluses and corns?
  • Wear shoes and other footwear that fit correctly. This will reduce rubbing and give corns or calluses time to heal.
  • Use protective pads, such as moleskin, to cushion the callus or corn.
  • Soak your corn or callus in warm water, and then use a pumice stone to rub dead skin away.
  • Use an over-the-counter callus-removing product, such as one that contains salicylic acid or urea. These products come in creams, ointments, gels, and patches. But if you have a condition that causes problems with blood flow (such as peripheral vascular disease) or loss of feeling in your feet (such as diabetes), talk to your doctor before you try any home treatment.
  • Wash your feet regularly, and rub lotion into your feet while they are still moist. Dry skin can cause a callus to crack and bleed.
  • Never cut the corn or callus yourself, especially if you have problems with blood flow to your legs or feet or a problem with numbness or feeling in your feet.
Calluses and corns: when to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the corn or callus.
    • Red streaks leading from the corn or callus.
    • Pus draining from the corn or callus.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.
Find a provider

We have podiatry experts throughout the region.

See our providers