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What Can You Do About Corns and Calluses?


Corns and calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that can develop when your skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure.

They are most common on toes and feet, on fingers and hands and appear as: 

  • A thick, rough area of skin
  • A hardened, raised bump
  • A feeling of tenderness or pain under your skin
  • An area of flaky, dry or waxy skin


Corns and calluses are similar but not the same

Corns are smaller than calluses and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin.  They are more likely to appear on those parts of your feet that are not weight-bearing - the tops and sides of the toes or between the toes.  They are often painful when pressed.

On the other hand, Calluses are seldom painful. They usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knees.  Varying in size and shape, calluses are often larger than corns.


Why do corns and calluses appear?

Often it is the pressure and friction from repetitive actions that causes corns and calluses to develop and grow.  Examples include:

Your footwear.  If your shoes do not fit properly, are too tight or even because they have high heels can mean that some areas of your feet become compressed.  If your footwear is too loose then your foot may repeatedly slide or rub against the shoe or a seam or stitch inside the shoe.

Going without socks.  This can sometimes cause friction on your feet. Another problem can be caused if the socks that you do wear do not fit properly.

The playing of musical instruments or the use of hand tools.  The repeated action may lead to calluses on your hands.  Even doing a lot of handwriting can result in calluses.

There are also certain factors that can increase the risk of corns and calluses.  These include bunions, hammertoes and other foot deformities..


How to treat corns and calluses?

If you can remove the cause of friction or pressure, the corns and calluses may well disappear.

Prevention is better than cure!  So make sure you have shoes that give your toes plenty of room and wear padded gloves when using hand tools or pad your tool handles with cloth tape or covers.

1.  Use protective coverings. Wear felt pads, non-medicated corn pads or bandages over areas that rub against your footwear. You can also try toe separators or some lamb's wool between your toes.

2.  Try a castor oil and pumice stone massage to remove any hard, dead skin. Before bedtime, soak your foot in warm water for some 10 minutes to soften the skin before gently rubbing the pumice stone over the corn or callus for 5 minutes.  Dry your feet thoroughly.  Dip some cotton wool in castor oil and place on the corn or callus. Secure with a band aid or tape and leave in place overnight.  Remove the cotton ball in the morning and keep repeating the process as long as necessary.

3.  Baking soda has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as being able to exfoliate the skin gently, making it ideal for removing dead and dried skin.  Add three heaped tablespoons of baking soda to a bowl of hot water and soak your affected foot or feet for at least 10 minutes.  Then massage the corn or callus with a pumice stone for 5 minutes.  Another method is to make a paste by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with water and lemon juice, applying to the corn, covering with a band aid and leaving overnight.  Use a pumice stone to wash the area the following morning.  Again, keep repeating as long as necessary.

4.  Apple cider vinegar has excellent antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which can help prevent further infection.  In addition, the acid content can soften the area of affected skin.  Mix your apple cider vinegar with water in a 1 to 3 ratio.  Apply the solution to the callus or corn each evening before bed.  Cover with a plaster and let it work overnight.  Give it a massage with a pumice stone the following morning then moisturize it with a good quality oil like coconut oil or our own Simply Body Oil.

5.  An Epsom salt soak is an excellent way to get rid of calluses in particular.  Add a cupful of Epsom salts to a bowl of warm water and soak your feet for some 15 minutes. After the skin has softened, rub it gently with a pumice stone.  Do this each day until the callus has cleared up.


A word of warning!

If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet, you could be at greater risk of complications from corns and calluses. So do check with your doctor for their advice on the proper care for corns and calluses if you have such a condition.


Keeping your hands and feet moisturized

Our hands and feet do a lot of hard work on our behalf so it makes sense to look after them.  Common problems include nail fungus, athletes foot, cracked heels and plantar warts all of which can be treated with natural products.  In the meantime, keep them moisturized and rejuvenated with our own Simply Body Oil.