Corns and Calluses

What is causing your corn or callus?

It is more common to see corns and calluses in the older population. Arthritis often causes your toes to bend and become irritated, especially when wearing shoes that rub against your toes. This can cause the development of corns.  Also, as you grow older, you lose some of the fat on the bottom of your feet that acts as a natural cushion. The bones in your feet then put greater pressure on the skin increasing your risk for developing a callus.

We see corns and calluses every day in our office. Many of our patients develop them from working in a job where they are on their feet most of the day. Working on your feet for long periods of time puts a lot of pressure on them. This can lead to your skin rubbing against your shoe and slowly building up a layer of thick, dead, dry skin. Calluses form on the bottom of your feet and corns form on the tops of your toes, usually at the knuckle. Corns often develop if your toe is bent because it gets irritated from rubbing the inside of your shoe. This condition is called a hammertoe.


How do we diagnose corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses can sometimes be mistaken for a wart, and in some rare cases, what is thought to be a corn or callus may be a type of skin cancer. Because of this we always perform a very thorough evaluation of your feet and toes. Corns most commonly affect the fifth toe, but any toe can have a corn. It is usually on top of the knuckle of a bent toe. When we look at the bottom of your feet, we usually see calluses on the ball of the foot. A callus is a bit larger then a corn.  They could be the size of a dime or quarter, if not larger.  When a callus builds up, it start to burn and hurt a great deal as you walk or stand.  We may press on the callus to determine if there is a deep root. If we locate one, it will be very painful to the touch.

Corns and calluses are very, very common.  We provide different forms of treatment depending on the severity of your problem. We may need to take x-rays to make sure that there is not a bone problem involved, because bone spurs can lead to the development of corns and calluses.  Sometimes a dislocated bone or a bent toe, such as a hammertoe, can contribute to a corn developing.  X-rays would also show us the structure of your feet to see where the underlying cause might be. If you have tried and failed with home treatment, it is time to make an appointment at our Chicago podiatric office to get treatment for your corn or callus once and for all. We want you to enjoy your life without something as minor as a corn or callus ruining your day.


How do we treat corns and calluses at our office?

When treating corns and calluses, we usually begin by assessing your profession and what type of shoes you wear. There are many times when significantly changing shoe styles helps to decrease the formation of corns and calluses.  When you have corns it is important to wear shoes with a deep toe box.  This offers plenty of room for toes to move without being irritated and allows existing corns to heal. It also may prevent additional corns from developing.

When it comes to calluses, we would most likely start with having you fitted with custom orthoses. These are custom shoe inserts that are specifically made to take pressure off the callused area. Orthoses often help you avoid surgery and keep you much more comfortable. We can provide immediate relief of pain by shaving off the callus.  This procedure is not painful because we are not doing anything to live, healthy skin. Sometimes applying padding, such as gel cushions to the painful area can make wearing shoes more comfortable and reduce the pressure, which allows you to walk without pain.

It is important to note that corns are not a skin problem as much as a problem with the structure of your bones. You may be having irritation to your skin while wearing shoes but it is due to a bent toe rather than a skin condition. We can remove a corn, but it will eventually reoccur if we don’t treat the underlying cause. If you have hammertoes, mallet or claw toes, we may need to address the bent bone issue first to fully stop corns from developing.


Get relief today!

Our success rate for treating corns and calluses is extremely high. We concentrate on decreasing the rubbing or friction from your shoes.  When we do that through the use of shaving, padding, cushioning, or prescribing custom orthoses, we effectively treat any existing problem areas and prevent the future development of corns and calluses. Wearing different shoe styles helps to decrease the return of calluses by eliminating areas of thickened skin.  Sometimes, we may even do a same-day surgical treatment that will help increase the success of enabling you to walk free from pain.

If you want relief from your corn or callus, contact our office today! We can provide the specialized treatment you need.