Valley Foot Care, Inc.

Patient Education Library

Corns and Calluses

Corns And Calluses Treatment Phoenix AZCorns and calluses occur when the top layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, thickens over boney prominences.  Thickened skin that occurs on the top of the toes is referred to as a corn, while thickened skin on the bottom of the foot is referred to as a callus.  Thickening of the skin, regardless of its location, can indicate structural issues in the foot that need to be addressed.  If neglected or untreated, corns and calluses can lead to ulcerations, or holes in the skin, revealing muscles, tendons and bone that are normally protected by the skin.

Conservative treatment of both corns and calluses is usually centered around avoiding pressure by perhaps wearing wider, taller shoes or making a special insole for the foot to de-weight and shift away pressure points and eliminate the risks associated with an ulceration.  Over the counter acid removers are not recommended as they can lead to ulcerations and bone infections.  Other conservative treatment can consist of visiting a podiatrist on a regular basis to have areas of thick skin pared down, or debrided.  This often provides significant relief and is a good treatment option for those that cannot have or do not want surgery.

Corns can also be addressed from a surgical standpoint in which a small piece of bone is removed from the toe at the joint level or the joint may be replaced to straighten the toe and eliminate pressure points that cause corns and ulcerations all together.  After surgery the toe is not as tall and fits inside of shoe gear better providing better comfort and minimizing the risk of infection and ulceration.


Corn is thick skin on the top of the toes over a bone prominence. A callus is a thick skin on the bottom of the foot. Both corn and callus are signs of too much pressure and may place a person at risk for ulceration which may become more serious if not addressed.
Corns are do to excess pressure on a bone prominence usually a hammer toe and from ill-fitting shoes.
Calluses are a build-up of skin on the bottom of the foot from too much pressure from activities and sometimes due to structural problems in the foot such as a decreased fat pad or from excessive force related to hammer toes or bunions. If untreated and not addressed they can lead to more serious ulcerations and a consultation with your podiatrist is recommended.
Our podiatrist recommends proper shoe fitting, sizing, and foot evaluation by your podiatrist before treating your corn or callus to determine the cause. We strongly advise against the use of over-the-counter acids and corn removers that can become dangerous
Avoiding corns comes from good shoe selection and avoiding pressure. Make sure the shoes you are wearing are not too short and are not too narrow which causes toe crowding and pressure. Also, make sure the toe box where the toes are at is tall enough. Avoid shoes with extra seams and stitching of leather inside the shoe. Look for shoes that have relaxed materials and float over the toes.
Some calluses can not be avoided if a foot structure has a decreased fat thickness on the bottom of the foot. Similarly, some calluses are the result of hammer toes which causes a force on the bottom of the foot. It is important to know that not treating calluses can result in more serious ulcers or holes in the feet if untreated. Being properly fitted by a certified shoe fitter or visiting with your podiatrist can prevent calluses from becoming more serious.
Private Practice Since 1997
American Board Of Wound Healing
The American Board of Podiatric Medicine
American Board Of Multiple Specialties In Podiatry
American Professional Wound Care Association