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Corns and Calluses: Care Instructions


Corns and calluses are areas of thick, hard, dead skin. They form to protect your skin from injury. Corns usually form where toes rub together. Calluses often form on the hands or feet. They may form wherever the skin rubs against something, such as shoes.

In most cases, you can take steps at home to care for a corn or callus.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Wear shoes and other footwear that fit correctly. This will reduce rubbing and give corns or calluses time to heal.
  • Use protective pads, such as moleskin, to cushion the callus or corn.
  • Soak your corn or callus in warm water, and then use a pumice stone to rub dead skin away.
  • Use an over-the-counter callus-removing product, such as one that contains salicylic acid or urea. These products come in creams, ointments, gels, and patches. But if you have a condition that causes problems with blood flow (such as peripheral vascular disease) or loss of feeling in your feet (such as diabetes), talk to your doctor before you try any home treatment.
  • Wash your feet regularly, and rub lotion into your feet while they are still moist. Dry skin can cause a callus to crack and bleed.
  • Never cut the corn or callus yourself, especially if you have problems with blood flow to your legs or feet or a problem with numbness or feeling in your feet.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the corn or callus.
    • Red streaks leading from the corn or callus.
    • Pus draining from the corn or callus.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.