Treating Corns and Calluses on Hands and Feet

young woman grabbing her right foot feeling for calluses

Corns and calluses are lumps of thick hard skin formed in areas of the skin that experience frequent pressure and friction. Dr. Arash Akhavan explains that the conditions are a result of the skin’s self-defense mechanism against repeated force or pressure on its surface.

Corns and calluses develop on the part of the skin where repeated friction occurs only. Once frequent friction is detected, the skin naturally develops a thick layer around the friction area to protect the tissues underneath from pressure or friction damage. The skin conditions are common in the bony areas of the feet and hands.

Corn and calluses are easy to notice immediately after they begin forming. Among their common characteristics include a thick rough lump around the skin area suffering frequent pressure. The area is often hard, flaky, and raised above the normal skin surface, and sometimes they can be tender and painful when pressed.

How are corns and calluses diagnosed?

Corns and calluses are easily identifiable from when they begin forming. There’s no sophisticated way to diagnose the conditions besides physically examining their structural properties.

To rule out other skin conditions (warts and cysts) with nearly similar symptoms, the doctor would pare a section of the hardened skin to determine if it bleeds or harbors dried blood (appearing as dark spots). If the skin bleeds or reveals dark spots, it’s an indication you’re dealing with a wart and not corn.

How do you treat corns and calluses?

“Normally, if you have healthy skin, corns and calluses will disappear on their own without much medical intervention after you get rid of the pressure that caused them in the first place” –Dr. Arash Akhavan.

However, if you don’t like how they look or don’t have the patience to wait for the skin to correct organically–which are major concerns among many people considering the conditions are hardly painful -there’re several remedies you can try to get rid of them and restore your hands or feet’s aesthetics.

Let’s discuss the remedies here:

Physically trimming the hard skin surface

Corns and calluses are formed by hardened, dry, concentrated dead skin cells conveniently formed in the area to prevent the skin from feeling pain due to pressure or friction. This means that you’ll hardly feel any pain when the extra layer of dead skin is parred off with a scalpel to reveal good skin that will thrive when friction is removed.

Although trimming the dry dead skin is not always painful, you should consider getting a doctor’s appointment instead of doing it yourself and risk developing infections. The procedure is pretty low-risk and straightforward, you won’t spend a lot of time at the doctor’s office.

Consider wearing shoes that fit customized padded shoes if you have feet deformities

As Dr. Akhavan recommends, getting rid of the pressure or friction causing the corns or calluses will subsequently make the corns and calluses go away. Think about it –it’s the most natural remedy for doing away with the recurring conditions. Remove the cause of the problem and the problem is solved.

If you used to wear shoes that killed your toes then consider going for those that fit properly to avoid subjecting your feet to pressure that will possibly lead to the development of corns and calluses.

Customized padded shoes if you have feet deformities

Unfortunately, individuals with underlying foot deformities cannot walk to the store and come out with shoes that ‘fit just okay’. It’s a little complicated for them since they need to get custom-made padded shoes, popularly referred to as orthotics.

Custom-made padded shoes are designed to fit perfectly, and will not hurt your feet which means reduced chances of getting corns and calluses.

Medicated patches (with 40% salicylic acid)

Medicated patches are patches containing medication attached to your skin to treat a specific area of the skin. In our case, the medication should contain 40% salicylic acid known for its role in dealing with lumps of dead skin.

The salicylic acid works by exfoliating dead skin within the patched area until the corns or calluses disappear completely. For faster results, Dr. Akhavan advises that you rub the infected area with a pumice stone to thin the thick hardened skin before introducing the medicated patch.

Your doctor will advise you on how often you can replace the medicated patches. It should be convenient that most medicated patches are sold Over The Counter which means you won’t encounter any problems changing them every once in a while when the medication wears.

Trim your toenails often.

It is possible that your long toenails are forcing your toes up against your shoe causing corns or calluses on the areas pressured against the shoe. Always trim your toenails immediately you notice discomfort when wearing shoes.

About The Dermatology and Laser Group

The Dermatology and Laser Group is a clinic founded by Dr. Akhavan, a dermatologist in NYC devoted to offering his patients the most advanced, minimally-invasive cosmetic & medical skin care treatments for the face, body, and feet.