There are some things you can do to relieve the discomfort associated with these two conditions. Try the home remedies that follow to take the pressure off these sore spots. If, despite these self-help strategies, your corn or callus continues to cause you discomfort, see your podiatrist. In addition, if you have diabetes or any other disorder that affects circulation, do not attempt to self-treat any foot problem; see your podiatrist right away.
Play detective. Corns and calluses don't just spring up out of nowhere. Excess pressure and friction can produce areas of dead, thickened skin on your feet. The solution? Track down and eliminate the cause of all that rubbing, and take other steps to prevent corns and calluses.
Trim those toenails. Toenails are designed to protect the toes from injury. However, the pressure of a shoe on a toenail that is too long can force the joint of the toe to push up against the shoe, forming a corn. To take the pressure off, keep your toenails trimmed. Cut each toenail straight across so that it doesn't extend beyond the tip of the toe. Then, file each toenail to smooth any rough edges.
Take a soak. While eliminating the source of the problem is essential, the sharp pain of a corn may demand immediate relief. Soak the affected foot in a solution of Epsom salts and warm water, then apply a moisturizing cream and wrap the foot in a plastic bag. Keep the bag on for a couple of hours (while you watch television or read, for example). Then remove the bag and gently rub the corn in a sideways motion with a pumice stone. Bear in mind that soaking will provide temporary relief, but it is not a cure.
Don't cut. There are myriad paring and cutting items to remove corns and calluses available in your local drugstore, but you should ignore them all in the best interest of your feet. Cutting corns can cause infection and heavy bleeding, so it's not worth the risk.
Soft-step it. Shielding and padding offer another way to get temporary relief from the discomfort of corns and calluses. Padding transfers the pressure of the shoe from a painful spot to one that is free of pain. Nonmedicated corn pads, for example, surround the corn with material that is higher than the corn itself, thus protecting the corn from contact with the shoe.
A similar idea applies when padding a callus. Cut a piece of moleskin (available at your local drugstore or camping supply store) into two half-moon shapes and place the pieces on opposite sides of the callused area to protect it from further irritation.
Separate your piggies. To relieve soft corns between the toes, keep the toes separated with lamb's wool or cotton. A small, felt pad, like those for hard corns, may also be used for this purpose.
Coat your feet. If you expect to be doing an unusual amount of walking or running, coat your toes with a little petroleum jelly to reduce friction.
Choose the right shoes.Corns and calluses form when the size and shape of your shoe don't accommodate your foot and the way it works. Here are some guidelines to getting a better fit:
- Have the salesclerk measure each foot twice before you buy any pair of shoes. Don't ask for a certain size just because it's the one you have always worn; the size of your feet changes as you grow older.
- Be sure to try on both the left and the right shoe. Stand during the fitting process, and check that there is adequate space (three-eighths to one-half inch) for your longest toe at the end of each shoe. Remember, your longest toe may not be your big toe; for some people, the second toe extends the farthest. Likewise, your feet may not be exactly the same size. If one foot is slightly larger than the other, buy the shoes for the larger foot and use padding, if necessary, for a better fit on the smaller foot.
- Be sure the shoe fits snugly at the heel.
- Be sure the ball of your foot fits snugly into the widest part of the shoe, which is called the ball pocket.
- If you plan to wear socks with the shoes, bring those socks and wear them while you assess the fit of the shoes.
- Shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are likely to be slightly swollen.
- Don't buy shoes that feel too tight, expecting them to stretch out. If they don't feel right in the store, they will never fit comfortably. They should not need to be stretched.
- Walk around the store in the shoes to make sure they fit and feel right.
- When buying shoes for everyday use, look for ones with fairly low heels.
- Be sure the material of the upper is soft and pliable.
- If you are not sure about the fit, check into the store's return policy. If possible, take the shoes home, wear them on a rug for an hour, and if they don't feel good, take them back.
- Have several different pairs of shoes so that you don't wear the same pair day after day. Alternating your shoes is a wise move, not only for your feet but for the shoes.
You may discover, as most people do, that your left and right feet are not exactly the same size. Or you may have a high instep, a plump foot, or especially long toes. While these characteristics may make it somewhat difficult to step into every pair of shoes you try on, they do not mean that you must resign yourself to never finding a pair of shoes that fit. All it takes is a little time and the determination to walk in comfort.One last reminder: Like Cinderella, who was the only one able to fit into the glass slipper, the person who buys a pair of shoes is the only one who should wear them.Read the next section to learn some home remedies for calluses and corns that are as close as your kitchen.For more information on foot problems and home remedies to treat them, try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- For self-help tips on relieving the sting of athlete's foot, read Home Remedies for Athlete's Foot.
- Home Remedies for Foot Odor offers a number of simple measures to keep your feet odor-free.
- If painful feet are causing you concern, go to Home Remedies for Foot Pain to learn more.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.