15 Home Remedies for Calluses and Corns

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. An estimated 87 percent of all American adults have some type of foot problem.

You may refer to your feet as tootsies or dogs, but the fact remains that feet are highly sophisticated structures. The human foot is a miracle of engineering, designed to stand up under a lot of wear and tear. It's a good thing, too, since your feet are the most used and abused parts of your body. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, the average American walks 115,000 miles in a lifetime, a distance that would take you all the way around the earth four times. Your feet support the weight of your body, clothing, and whatever extras you might be carrying. And in an average day of walking, your feet are subjected to a force equal to several hundred tons.

Despite how well designed your feet are, however, things can go wrong. In fact, an estimated 87 percent of all American adults have some type of foot problem. Among the most common of these problems are corns and calluses, which are patches of toughened skin that form to protect sensitive foot tissue against repeated friction and pressure. This article will provide home remedies to alleviate the pain of corns and calluses, as well as some suggestions for preventing them. Let's begin with some general information about the affliction.

The main function of calluses and corns is protecting sensitive areas on the foot. Corns come in two varieties: hard and soft. Hard corns are usually found on the tops of the toes or on the outer sides of the little toes, where the skin rubs against the shoe. Sometimes, a corn will form on the ball of the foot beneath a callus, resulting in a sharp, localized pain with each step. Soft corns, which are moist and rubbery, form between toes, where the bones of one toe exert pressure on the bones of its neighbor. Both hard and soft corns are cone shaped, with the tip pointing into the foot (what you see is the base of the cone). When a shoe or another toe puts pressure against the corn, the tip can hit sensitive underlying tissue, causing pain.

Unlike corns, calluses generally form over a flat surface and have no tip. They usually appear on the weight-bearing parts of the foot: the ball or the heel. As people age, the padding on the bottom of the foot begins to thin, so calluses naturally develop to protect the foot from too much pressure and chafing. Each step presses the callus against underlying tissue, and that may cause aching, burning, or tenderness but rarely sharp pain.

Mistreating the feet by wearing shoes that don't fit well or that are too inflexible or nonporous are common causes of calluses and corns. Shoes that squeeze the toes force one toe to rub against the other, ultimately causing a corn to develop. High-heeled shoes also are major culprits, since they put pressure on the front of the foot, as can ill-fitting socks or irritation from your foot rubbing against a sock seam or shoe stitching. Shoes that are too loose cause your foot to slide, creating friction that can cause calluses.

  • Walking on hard surfaces. 
  • Having flat feet (people with flat feet are more likely to get calluses). 
  • Thinning of the skin on the sole of the foot. 
  • Being diabetic. Diabetics and others with circulatory problems should never self-treat or ignore foot problems.

In the next section, we'll offer soothing home remedies to get you back on your feet in no time.

For more information on foot problems and home remedies to treat them, try the following links:

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.

But socks and shoes aren't the only causes of corns and calluses. You can also get them from:

Home Remedy Treatments for Calluses and Corns

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Soaking can provide temporary relief from corns and calluses.

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:

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.

Natural Home Remedies for Calluses and Corns

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Chamomile tea makes a soothing soak for callused feet.

Safe home remedies for painful corns and calluses include tea, cornstarch, and vinegar. For more details on how these everyday items can help your sore feet, read on.

Home Remedies From the Cupboard 

Baking soda. One of the best ways you can treat corns and calluses is with a warm-water soak. This loosens the dead skin and helps with healing. Add 3 tablespoons baking soda to a basin of warm water and soak. Or massage calluses with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.

Chamomile tea. Soaking your feet in diluted chamomile tea can be soothing and will temporarily change the pH of the skin to help dry out sweaty feet. The tea will stain your feet, but the stain can be easily removed with soap and water.

Cornstarch. Sprinkle cornstarch between your toes to keep the area dry and protect the skin from breaking down. Moisture can make a corn or callus feel miserable and can promote fungal infections.

Vinegar. Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and tape it to your corn or callus. Leave the vinegar-soaked cotton on overnight. In the morning, rub the area with a pumice stone.

Home Remedies From the Drawer

Pumice stone. Pumice powder and stones are used for scouring pans and are very useful for sloughing away dead skin. After soaking your foot in warm water for about 20 minutes, use a pumice stone to rub away those corns and calluses

Home Remedies  From the Freezer

Home Remedies  From the Freezer

Ice. Hard corns can be particularly painful. If you find yourself with a hard-core corn, apply an ice pack to the area. This will help reduce swelling and ease the pain a bit.

Home Remedies  From the Refrigerator

Home Remedies  From the Refrigerator

Lemon juice. Mix a paste of 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 5 or 6 crushed aspirin tablets. Apply the paste directly to your callus, and wrap your foot in a plastic bag. Keep your foot under wraps for ten minutes, allowing the acidity to soften your callus. Then give your callus a rub with a pumice stone.

Since your feet are the body part you use the most, a callus or corn can make it difficult to navigate through your day. If you follow the home remedies in this article, you can give corns and calluses the boot.

For more information on foot problems and home remedies to treat them, try the following links:  

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.

Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.

Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.

Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.

ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:

Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

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.

 

Home Remedies From the Drawer

 

Vinegar. Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and tape it to your corn or callus. Leave the vinegar-soaked cotton on overnight. In the morning, rub the area with a pumice stone.  

 

Cornstarch. Sprinkle cornstarch between your toes to keep the area dry and protect the skin from breaking down. Moisture can make a corn or callus feel miserable and can promote fungal infections.  

 

Chamomile tea. Soaking your feet in diluted chamomile tea can be soothing and will temporarily change the pH of the skin to help dry out sweaty feet. The tea will stain your feet, but the stain can be easily removed with soap and water.