There are many myths about calluses and corns. Both corns and calluses are essentially the same thing. They are a build up of skin on the foot due to increased pressure in that particular area. When found on the bottom or side of the foot, they are often called calluses. When found between or on top of the toes, they are referred to as “corns”.
How are Calluses Treated?
Contrary to popular belief, a callus cannot simply be cut out. It can be shaved down and padded which will give temporary relief. But realize that until the underlying pressure issue is dealt with, the callus will return. Bunions and elongated foot bones are a common cause of calluses on the side and bottom of the foot.
Modified shoe gear, padding, and pumice stones are often used to keep the calluses under control. However, fixing the bunion or irregular bone surgically will usually resolve the callus for good. Similarly, “corns” on the toes are often caused by crooked toes otherwise known as “hammertoes”. They can be padded and pumiced down. Shoes with a wide toe box or an open toe shoe will also help. A more permanent fix would be hammertoe repair.
Surgery to Remove a Callus
Patients often ask me, “Is surgery worth it?” It all comes down to whether you can adequately control the callus with conservative measures. If a person can keep the callus comfortable with padding, wider shoes, a pumice stone, etc., this can be an adequate treatment for years. If conservatively, you can’t control the callus and the pain affects you activity level, it is probably time to fix the underlying issue surgically.