Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Corns and calluses facts
- What are corns and calluses?
- Why do corns and calluses develop?
- What are risk factors for corns and calluses?
- What are symptoms and signs of corns and calluses?
- How are corns and calluses diagnosed?
- How can corns and calluses be treated?
- When should you seek professional treatment for corns and calluses?
- What is the prognosis for corns and calluses?
- How can corns and calluses be prevented?
- Find a local Podiatrist in your town
When should you seek professional treatment for corns or calluses?
If the corn bothers you and doesn't respond to salicylic acid and trimming, you might consider seeing a physician or podiatrist who can physically pare corns with scalpels. Podiatrists also can measure and fit you with orthotic devices to redistribute your weight on your feet while you walk so that pressure from the foot bones doesn't focus on your corns. (Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one size fits all and may not be effective.)
People with fragile skin or poor circulation in the feet (including many people with diabetes or peripheral arterial disease) should consult their health-care professional as soon as corns or calluses develop. Further, you should seek medical care immediately if corns or calluses show signs of infection (such as increasing pain, the presence of pus or other drainage, swelling, and redness).
Surgery for corns is rarely necessary. When a corn is surgically removed, the pressure that caused it to form in the first place will just make it come back if this pressure is not removed or reduced. When necessary, surgery for corns involves shaving the underlying bone or correcting any deformity that is causing undue pressure or friction on the skin.
What is the prognosis for corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are not serious conditions and can be managed with home care remedies or medical treatment. Surgery is very rarely necessary. However, even with management, corns and calluses may recur if there is continued pressure or friction on the affected area.
How can corns and calluses be prevented?
In many situations, calluses and corns can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the hands and feet. Potential preventive measures therefore include the following:
- Wearing well-fitting, comfortable shoes is useful. The idea is to avoid having footgear press on the outside of the fifth toe or pressing the fourth and fifth toes together to prevent corns in these areas;
- Another approach is to pad the potentially affected area. Many sorts of padding are available at the drugstore:
- cushions to put between the toes;
- foam or moleskin pads to put over the places where corns form;
- foam pads with holes in the center (like donuts or bagels), which redistribute pressure around the corn instead of right over it;
- cushioned insoles to pad your feet and alleviate mechanical pressure.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
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