Corns and Callouses

A corn is a localised area of hard, horny skin which forms as a result of constant rubbing or pressure. A calluses are larger versions.

What to look for



  • an area of hard, thick skin, which may look a yellow colour

  • Corns between the toes can be soft



  • A callus is an area of hard, dead skin up to an inch wide on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, or any area subject to friction.

Corns and calluses are formed to protect the skin against friction or pressure. Corns generally occur on the toes and balls of the feet, while calluses can develop on hands, feet, or anywhere there is friction.


These are likely to develop whenever there is pressure or excessive wear on the skin. Most are caused by ill-fitting shoes. If your child develops a callus that has no clear source of pressure, it may be hereditary. Feet spend most of their time in a closed, moist environment ideal for breeding bacteria; staph infections can start when bacteria enter corns through breaks in the skin and cause the infected corn to give off fluid or pus.

Calluses are usually easy to fix.

Traditional Treatment

When the friction or excess pressure is gone, the callus or corn will usually disappear as well. Always wear shoes that fit you well, and usually leather will mould with the foot better than synthetic materials.

You can buy over the counter ointments and topically applied corn plasters, however be careful of the healthy tissue surrounding the corn. Oral antibiotics are available if your corn is infected.

It is a good idea to scrap the excess dead skin with a sharp scraper or scalpel knife. Do this until you can see the soft skin underneath. Be very careful not to scrape away too much skin as this can cause bleeding or introduce infection.

Alternative/Natural Treatments


Herbal Therapies - Apply a calendula (Calendula officinalis) salve two or three times a day to corns or calluses to soften tissue and prevent inflammation.


Personal Care - The best solution to this problem is to remove the cause of the friction, but until you do that you can follow the remedies below for good results.

  • Soak yourself in a bath to soothe and soften the skin, then use a pumice stone to rub over the corn..

  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or a calendula-based ointment to a cracked callus. Aloe cream is also good for soothing and healing the skin.

  • Elevate your feet and expose them to fresh air whenever possible.

  • When you go to sleep, place a crushed comfrey leaf over the corn and put on an old sock. Repeat for 3 nights.


Buy appropriate and comfortable shoes and beware of tight, high heels. If you wear high or otherwise constricting shoes for fashion reasons, try to take them off whenever possible during the day to give your feet a rest. You can also wear other more comfortable shoes to and from work.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you cut a corn or callus

  • a corn discharges pus or clear fluid; it is infected or ulcerated.

  • you develop a corn and you suffer from diabetes, Atherosclerosis, or other Circulatory Problems.