Corns and calluses

Alternative Names

Calluses and corns

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Corns and calluses are caused by pressure or friction on skin. A corn is thickened skin on the top or side of a toe, usually from shoes that do not fit properly. A callus is thickened skin on your hands or the soles of your feet.

Signs and tests

Your health care provider will make the diagnosis after observing the skin. In most cases tests are not necessary.

Treatment

Usually, preventing friction is the only treatment needed. If a corn is the result of a poor-fitting shoe, changing to shoes that fit properly will usually eliminate the corn within a couple of weeks. Until then, protect the skin with donut-shaped corn pads, available in pharmacies. If desired, use a pumice stone to gently wear down the corn.

Expectations (prognosis)

Corns and calluses are rarely serious. If treated properly, they should improve without causing long-term problems.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/10/2009

Corns and calluses
Skin layers

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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