Treatment for corns and bunions

on August 12 | in Medical Conditions, Painful Feet | by Jesol Umeria | with No Comments

Whilst corns and bunions are not a serious medical issue, they can be very painful and if untreated they can prevent you from living an active lifestyle.

Corns usually affect the feet as a result of significant pressure applied on certain areas of the skin, most often caused by ill-fitting shoes. This pressure creates small circles of hardened skin.

Bunions are a swelling of the joint of the big toes, caused by tight-fitting shoes. The pressure on the joint bends the big toe out of place and causes the joint to stick out and swell. Here are some tips to treat the symptoms and swelling:

Change your footwear

Corns and bunions are almost always caused by shoes that are too tight. The first step in tackling them is to start wearing more comfortable shoes or wide fit boots. Once the pressure on the tissue of the foot eases, the hardening of the skin will reduce.

For bunions, the decrease in pressure will see the swelling of the toe joint go down as the toe is allowed to return to its normal position. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen will help the swelling. Icepacks and massage can also reduce swelling and ease the pain. After a while, the change in more appropriate footwear like extra wide shoes solves most corn and bunion problems.

Treat corns with a corn pads

Whilst you are waiting for your corns or bunions to heal, a good option is to use a corn pad which is a soft material that covers the affected area. It serves as a cushion between the corn and the shoe, reducing friction and pressure. This allows the corn to heal naturally. These are also a good preventative measure if you want to wear high-heels.

Use a pumice stone

A pumice stone can be used on the corn to file away the area of hard skin. Soak your feet in water to soften the skin and then rub gently to remove the hardened area. This can be a simple and effective home remedy but it is important not to rub too hard because there is a risk of cutting the skin, which can cause infection.

Treat corns with a moisturising cream

Corns are hard because they are very dry. An intensive moisturizing cream on the callous can soften it. Apply a liberal amount and leave overnight. Use regularly until the corn is gone.

Use a topical acid

Another option is to use a topical salicylic acid. Applied on the calloused area, the acid works to dissolve the dead skins cells. A couple of applications a day for a several days is often effective. It is important to understand that salicylic acid is flammable and can be dangerous if not used correctly – consult your doctor for advice.


If your corns or bunions are particularly severe, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. Bunion surgery corrects the positioning of bones and tendons to return the foot to its normal state. This is often carried out to prevent the bunion causing further complications to the foot and other toes.

In the case of corns, the surgeon will usually use a scalpel to remove the entire hardened callous, which is a simple operation and patients can be fully healed in a couple of weeks. There is also the option of laser removal which is another straightforward operation, requiring only topical or local anaesthetic.

If you are worried about your corns it is always best to seek professional advice from your doctor who can assess the severity and proscribe the appropriate level of treatment. Before you attempt any home-remedies, change your footwear as this is the easiest and most common solution. Even if other remedies work, corns and bunions will return if your shoes do not give you the comfort your feet require.


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What to do about bunions

Bunion surgery by category


Surgical treatment

Mild bunion

Shaves the bony excess on the outside of the metatarsal head. Realigns the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joint. Recovery takes 3–4 weeks and usually involves wearing a postoperative shoe. May not correct the deformity that caused the bunion.

Moderate bunion

Same as for a mild bunion, plus osteotomy (cutting) of the metatarsal head to shift it into proper alignment. The bone is held in place with screws or pins. Recovery takes 4–6 weeks, depending on the procedure. You may need to wear a short cast and use crutches.

Severe bunion

Cuts away the bony excess at the head of the metatarsal bone. Removes a wedge-like piece of bone and realigns the metatarsal, which is secured with screws or pins. Corrects tendons and ligaments. Recovery takes 6–12 weeks. You may need to wear a short cast and use crutches. If the joint is beyond repair, it may be replaced with an artificial joint.

Source: Based on information from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

Outcomes and complications of bunion surgery

Variations among toe-joint deformities and surgical techniques make it difficult to evaluate the results of bunion surgery. Some studies suggest that 85% to 90% of patients are satisfied with their results, but one review found that about a third of patients were dissatisfied even when their pain and toe alignment improved. The problem may be unrealistic expectations. Some patients mistakenly believe that after surgery, the big toe will be completely straight and the foot will fit into narrower shoes. (“We can’t make the foot or bunion area perfect; we can make it better,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of podiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.) Patients may also expect faster relief from pain and swelling than the procedure allows.

Complication rates from various studies range from 10% to 55%. The most common complication is recurrence of the bunion, reported in as many as 16% of cases. This can happen when only the bony prominence is shaved off and the underlying deformity is not corrected.

Sometimes the cut bone reunites too slowly or, rarely, doesn’t come together at all. This condition, called nonunion, usually requires another surgery. Other possible complications are irritation from the pins or screws used to hold the bone together and excessive scarring or stiffness. Swelling after surgery usually eases within two months but may last six months or longer. The joint may be stiff for several months. Nerve damage and continued pain are rare, but when they occur, they can lengthen recovery time and create a need for further surgery. The chance of infection is less than 1%.

The decision to undergo surgery isn’t easy. You’ll need to weigh the potential benefits against the risks. The good news is that bunion surgery isn’t a medical crisis. You have time to investigate, weigh your options, and, if you wish, secure a second opinion.

Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of podiatry at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, helped prepare this article.

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Manage Bunion Pain With Home Remedies, Exercises & Self-Aid Tips

In this article:

A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a foot deformity in which the big toe deviates laterally, causing a large bony protrusion. The causes are numerous and complicated, and bunions can be difficult to treat.

The development of a bunion is usually the outcome of genetic predisposition and the prolonged wearing of improper shoes. Over time, an outward protruding bony bump sticks out from the base of the big toe.

Because this deformity manifests at the site of the big toe joint, it makes it extremely painful for you to walk or move your big toe. It is also difficult to find shoes that fit properly.

The incidence of bunions is almost a third of the adult population in the United States.

Women tend to be more prone to the development of these bony bumps. This is probably due to the typically restrictive design of female footwear.

If you do not attend to the problem in time, the condition will continue to worsen. Adequate self-care measures and select home treatments may help reduce the symptoms to a manageable degree, but they are largely ineffective at fixing the actual deformity.

Causes and Risk Factors

Bunions are common, but the exact reason for their occurrence is largely unclear. However, some people are more likely to develop bunions than others.

  • The design of your footwear can have a significant bearing on the development and aggravation of this foot condition. People who regularly wear tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes are more likely to develop a bunion. (1)
  • People who have family members with bunions are predisposed to this condition.
  • People whose work requires them to stay on their feet or walk for long stretches have an increased risk of developing bunions.
  • Ballet dancers are especially prone to developing bunions as their feet go through excessive straining on a regular basis.
  • Bunions are a common occurrence in people with a problematic foot structure, such as those with unusually loose ligaments, abnormally flexible joints, or flat feet.
  • Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing bunions and other foot problems as they undergo certain hormonal fluctuations that render their feet increasingly flat and their ligaments quite loose.
  • People with rheumatoid arthritis and certain neuromuscular health conditions have an increased likelihood of developing bunions.
  • The anatomy of the first metatarsal bone also plays a role in the occurrence of bunions. If the top of this bone is too rounded, the risk of deformity is greater.

Several other factors can predispose you to this condition, such as:

  • Inherited structural defect of the foot
  • Foot injuries
  • Foot deformities present at birth

Symptoms of Bunion

The development of a bunion is usually accompanied by the following discomforting symptoms:

  • The skin surrounding the bunion is likely to be increasingly irritated and painful.
  • You may notice redness, swelling, and inflammation around the affected joint.
  • Corns or calluses may develop on the raised site.
  • The skin may be tender to the touch.
  • The big toe may become increasingly stiff, which can hamper its movement and make walking difficult.
  • There is a possibility that the big toe may shift laterally against the adjacent toe. This deformity can make it difficult to find shoes that fit properly.
  • In severe cases, the second toe can override the big toe.


Bunions are easy to spot. The bony bump typically protrudes from the base of the big toe or the side of the foot. All it takes is a visual assessment of the foot for your podiatrist to make a diagnosis.

If the doctor feels the need for a more in-depth analysis, he/she may recommend a foot X-ray to determine the extent of damage and any anatomical changes that may have occurred.

Medical Treatment

There are several nonsurgical interventions that your podiatrist/foot surgeon may recommend to manage an uncomplicated case of bunions.

These first-line treatments are intended to provide symptomatic relief, rather than correct the physical deformity of your foot. Preliminary treatment for bunions typically includes the following measures:

  • Over-the-counter medications analgesic or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen can help with pain management.
  • Reusable bunion pads provide cushioning to ease the pressure over the big toe, and they are readily available at most pharmacies.
    These pads are usually made of gel or fleece and provide a protective covering over the affected area to prevent the bump from rubbing against the shoe surface.
  • Orthotics (braces) or insoles are fitted inside your footwear to provide support to your feet.
    By realigning your foot’s skeletal frame in such a way that the pressure is evenly distributed instead of being concentrated on the protruding bunion alone, orthotic fittings can help relieve the pain.

When Is Surgery Needed?

If you fail to respond to nonsurgical treatments, surgery may be needed. Severe cases of bunions can be intensely painful and keep you from performing even the simplest of tasks.

This deformity can render you unable to walk or stand without experiencing excruciating pain.

In such cases, it is best to consult with your foot surgeon about the available surgical options to determine which one is best for you.

The doctor will take into account the following factors before zeroing in on either a single procedure or a combination of surgeries:

  • How old are you?
  • To what extent is your foot deformed?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • How active are you in daily life?
  • Are you suffering from any other associated medical condition?

Unlike nonsurgical methods, surgery serves a double purpose: to ease the pain associated with bunions and to correct the structural abnormalities in the foot.

Bunions: How to Manage Your Condition at Home

Here’s what you can do at home to minimize the discomfort caused by a mild case of bunions.

1. Self-Care Measures for Pain-Relief

  • If you happen to have an inflamed bunion, keeping your foot elevated may help bring down the swelling and pain. Try to keep the affected foot in a raised position for 15 minutes every other hour.
  • You should maintain a healthy body weight to reduce the overall pressure on your feet.
  • Do some overnight therapy by wearing a splint to realign the toe and hold it in place while you sleep.
  • Bunions tend to be worse in people with flat feet. To correct this anatomical abnormality, you can use arch supports that are easily available at local pharmacies and do not require a prescription.
  • Acupuncture may help with pain management for bunions. You can discuss with your doctor the suitability of this alternative treatment technique for your case.

2. Shoes for Bunions

The right kind of footwear can help reduce the discomfort caused by a bunion and keep it from worsening. If you have a bunion, here are a few points that you should keep in mind when you go shoe shopping:

  • Make sure that the shoes have extra room in the toe box for the bony protrusion and a well-built heel counter to keep the back of your foot in place.
  • High-heeled footwear is not for you, as it will only exert added pressure on the big toe. Keep the heel height within an inch, at best.
  • If you have your heart set on a pair of shoes that have a narrow front, you can have the shoe stretched to expand the toe space so that there is enough space for the bunion.
  • Look for shoes with a wide rubber sole that can provide extra support to your feet.
  • In addition to the design, you must also pay attention to the fabric of the shoe. Wear shoes that are made from comfortable material.
  • To keep your foot from sliding forward and straining the big toe further, it may help to wear shoes with a strap or lace over the instep that can tighten the foot in place.
  • Open sandals will allow your feet to breathe. Athletic shoes and shoes made from soft leather also serve as good options.

3. Ice

Overexertion of your feet due to prolonged walking, running, or simply standing can irritate your bunion and make it increasingly sore.

You can try a bit of ice therapy to ease pain and inflammation. This is a safe, simple, and cost-effective intervention that may help mitigate your symptomatic discomfort.

It essentially entails the topical application of a cold compress to numb the affected area and provide pain relief.

  • To make a cold compress, wrap some ice in a clean cloth or tea towel.
  • Alternatively, you can apply a bag of frozen peas or other vegetables to the forefront of the foot, just below the bunion area. Never apply ice directly to the toes for fear of frostbite to the digits.
  • Applying a cold pack to your painful toe joint several times a day helps bring down the swelling and alleviate your discomfort.

Note: Direct application of ice can be harsh for your skin. People with sensitive skin also run the risk of developing frostbite with this method.

4. Foot Exercises

When done correctly and on a regular basis, foot exercises may be beneficial in reducing the pain caused by bunions.

Working out your toes may help impart greater flexibility to them. Foot exercises are complementary interventions that can help delay the progression of your bunion and save you from the need for surgery.

Because bunions often result from the lack of stability in your joints, ligaments, and tendons, exercising your foot can help make it structurally strong and secure.

Exercise #1

Toe-spread-out exercise:

  1. While keeping your heel and the front of your foot firmly planted on the floor, raise your toes and spread them out.
  2. Push the little toe back down to the floor while keeping the rest of the toes lifted in the air.
  3. Force your big toe down, steering it towards the inside of the foot.
  4. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then bring your foot to a resting position.

Exercise #2

Heel-raise exercise:

  1. Stand on your bare feet while keeping your knees bent and heels turned in.
  2. Remaining in the same position, try to raise the arch of your foot as high as possible.
  3. Elevate the heel of the affected foot from the ground while exerting pressure on your bunion-ridden toe.
  4. Stay in this position for 5 seconds and then relax.

Exercise #3

Short-foot exercise:

  1. Form an arch in your foot while keeping your toes spread out straight and firmly grounded.
  2. Keep your heel planted on the floor as well.
  3. Make sure not to squeeze or curl your toes. (2)
  4. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then relax.

Repeat each of the above-listed exercises several times, until your muscles feel completely exhausted.

Possible Complications in Case of Bunions

An untreated bunion can lead to intense pain and can distort the appearance of your foot. In advanced stages, the big toe will progressively twist inwards and come all the way above or below the second toe.

Calluses: Due to the pressure exerted by the deformed big toe, the gap between the second and third toe will close, increasing friction between the two.

The constant rubbing of the toes against each other can lead to the development of calluses. This complication only adds to your pain and discomfort, especially while walking.

Bursitis: Another painful complication of severe bunions is bursitis. When your big toe joint becomes enlarged, the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) surrounding it may become inflamed, leading to the onset of this bursitis.

These sacs act as cushions that help curb friction in the joint caused by movement.

Arthritis: Because the deformed big toe joint is unable to glide smoothly, gradual degeneration of the smooth cartilage covering it occurs.

The loss of cartilage tissue is associated with an increased risk of osteoarthritis and chronic pain.

Problems You Might Mistake for Bunions

  • Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that produces symptoms similar to those of bunions, including pain, inflammation, and redness.
    Gout usually occurs due to the buildup of uric acid in the blood, which can lead to the formation of urate crystals in the joint. While it can affect any of the joints, it is most commonly observed in the hallux or the big toe.
  • Ganglion cysts are small fluid-filled cysts that physically resemble bunions but are not as firm or rigid to touch.
    To tell the two apart, you simply have to press on the lumpy protrusion on your big toe. If it subsides under pressure, the bump is most likely a ganglion cyst.

When to See a Doctor

It is advisable to seek professional medical intervention in the following situations:

  • If your pain worsens despite adequate rest and self-care measures
  • If you experience extreme stiffness in your big toe that makes it difficult to move it
  • When the pain arising out of the bunion does not subside even after taking remedial measures
  • When the pain stemming from the bunion makes it increasingly difficult for you to conduct your daily activities, hindering simple tasks such as walking or wearing shoes
  • If the bump expands to a size that makes it difficult for you to find a shoe that can accommodate your foot comfortably
  • If you suspect that the affected area may have become infected due to increased redness and swelling, more so if you have diabetes

Final Word

Working on your feet does not cause bunions. Most are hereditary, aggravated by poor shoe gear or foot function. If a bunion is not treated properly, it can give rise to a lot of pain, discomfort and can even deform the affected foot.

Thus, it is important that you adopt the proper self-care measures along with proper orthotic footwear and foot exercises to relieve the discomfort and keep the condition from getting worse.

If the condition fails to improve or if you notice any new complications, consult your podiatrist for proper medical assistance.

Expert Answers (Q&A)

Answered by Dr. Hai-En Peng (Podiatrist)

Do bunions get worse if left untreated?

Yes. If you leave your bunion unattended, it will get increasingly difficult to fit shoes, and the pain worsens because bunions are a progressive deformity, which means it gets worse if left untreated.

How do we stop a bunion from progressing without surgery?

Nothing can stop the progression of the bunion, and you can only reverse it with surgery.

The one thing that can slow down the progression is custom orthotics. Please see your nearest podiatrist to get one fitted, if you are not ready to surgically correct your bunion.

Can bunions grow back after surgery?

Yes, if the wrong procedure is selected to repair the bunion. Be sure to consult your surgeon to ensure the correct procedure is done to keep your bunion from coming back.

Should people suffering from bunions wear bunion correctors?

In my opinion, those don’t really work in the long term, but it may help a little in the short term for only pain reduction.

Remember, these devices have not shown to reverse the deformity.

Are stretching exercises and massages helpful in treating bunions?

Yes, they can help relieve the strain and discomfort from the bunion deformity.

What is the easiest way to reduce bunion pain?

Bunion pain can be very debilitating, so please be sure to wear proper fitting shoes, so the shoes don’t rub on the bump itself. Use pads, spacers, icing, and Advil/Aleve to reduce the pain.

If the pain becomes constant and affects your daily activity, it is time to see your nearest podiatric surgeon to possibly look into getting the bunion surgically corrected. Don’t let bunion pain stop you from enjoying your activities!

About Dr. Hai-En Peng, Podiatrist: Dr. Peng was born in Nyack, NY, and went to California College of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco, CA. He spent 4 years there and graduated in the top 15% of his class. Dr. Peng also completed a 3-year advanced surgical residency in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery.

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  • What Are the Treatments for Corns and Calluses?

    Most corns and calluses gradually disappear when the friction or pressure stops, although your doctor may shave the top of a callus to reduce the thickness. Properly positioned moleskin pads can help relieve pressure on a corn. Most foot doctors discourage the use of over-the-counter salicylic-acid corn remedies. When applied improperly, these corn “plasters” can create a chemical skin burn in healthy tissue around the corn and cause infections and ulcers (which is a hole through the skin) in patients with diabetes, poor circulation, or numbness in their feet.

    Oral antibiotics generally clear up infected corns, but pus may have to be drained through a small incision.

    Moisturizing creams may help soften the skin and remove cracked calluses. Apply the moisturizing cream to the callus and cover the area overnight with a plastic bag or a sock — but only if instructed to do so by your doctor. Then gently rub off as much of the callus as you can with a coarse towel or soft brush. Using a pumice stone first to rub off the dead skin from a callus after a bath or shower and then applying moisturizing cream can also be effective.

    There are also stronger creams containing urea that might be more effective, but don’t use these unless recommended by your doctor. Don’t bother with hydrocortisone creams, which only help with rashes and itching and are not needed for calluses.

    You can consider surgery to remove a plantar callus, but there are no guarantees that the callus won’t come back. A conservative approach is best initially. Keep the feet dry and friction-free. Wear properly fitted shoes and cotton socks, not wool or synthetic fibers that might irritate the skin.

    If a podiatrist or orthopedist thinks your corn or callus is caused by abnormal foot structure, walking motion, or hip rotation, orthopedic shoe inserts or surgery to correct foot deformities may help correct the problem.





    Years in Field:

    Q: Can you briefly explain the difference between a corn and a bunion?

    A: A “corn” is a growth of skin which forms typically on a bony prominence as a response to abnormal pressure or friction. They are often located on the tops of the toes at the knuckles or sometimes between the toes. They can also form on the bottom or the sides of the foot wherever there is an excess amount of pressure, such as a bone protruding outward against the ground or against an ill-fitting shoe. The term “corn” is often used interchangeably with callus. Essentially, they are both caused by the same thing, but visually a corn is often smaller, rounder and deeper, and a callus is usually broader, covering a larger area.

    A “bunion” is the name for the enlarged bony bump located behind the big toe at the joint where it attaches to the foot. This often protrudes out the side, but occasionally it protrudes upward.

    Q: What causes them to form?

    A: A corn forms as the skin responds to friction as it occurs from shoe pressure against bony prominences of the foot or toes.

    A bunion forms as the first metatarsal bone (the long bone behind the big toe) spreads outward from the foot causing a bump to appear. The big toe often then bends toward the lesser toes. The causative factor is often a combination of heredity, faulty biomechanics, poorly fitting shoes, degenerative joint disease, possibly systemic disease such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, and occasionally, injuries.

    Q: How are corns treated? Do home remedies for them work, or should people seek professional treatment?

    A: Symptomatic treatment consists of paring or removal of the excess dead skin, relieving the pressure and effecting temporary relief.

    Home remedies include the use of files or pumice stones, which allow you to buff away excess dead skin, and acid products which dissolve the dead skin.
    There are problems associated with both home remedies, however. If you use the files or pumice stones too aggressively or improperly, you can cause the skin to produce even more thickness, or worse, you can produce injury or infection. The acid products can be dangerous also. Since they dissolve the skin, they can dissolve the good and healthy skin as well as the thick skin of the corn.

    Since the etiology of the corn is often a combination of many factors, it is best to seek professional attention so that once the cause is determined, a more effective treatment plan can be initiated.

    Q: When is it necessary to see a doctor for bunions? How are they treated?

    A: It is necessary to see a doctor for bunions when one or more of the following conditions are present:

    • Pain much of the time in many different shoes.
    • Difficult to fit your foot into conventional foot wear.
    • Recurrent open wounds on the bunions.
    • Systemic conditions such as diabetes, poor circulation or rheumatoid arthritis.

    Bunions are treated effectively both surgically and non-surgically. Nonsurgical treatments include changes in shoes, custom shoe inserts or orthotics, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and topical and oral pain relievers.

    Surgical treatment is reserved for when conservative or nonsurgical therapy is ineffective. This generally consists of cutting and moving the bone behind the big toe through one or two skin incisions and repositioning the big toe straight again. This may often involve the use of wires, screws or other hardware to hold the bone in place during healing. Recovery times vary from patient to patient based on the specific surgical procedure chosen, the health of the patient and the activity level and/or occupation of the patient.

    Q: Will corns or bunions reoccur after treatment? Is there anything that can prevent their formation?

    A: Corns will often reoccur after paring or shaving, especially if the cause of the corn has not been addressed adequately. However, if the etiology of the corn has been identified and eliminated, the corn should not reoccur.

    Bunions rarely reoccur after surgery if the mechanical deforming forces have been neutralized.

    Corns can be prevented if the cause is identified and addressed. This will often involve a combination of mostly non-surgical and occasionally surgical treatments.
    It is possible to slow down or maybe even stop the progression of bunions by controlling the deforming forces before the feet become deformed. This can be accomplished with the use of custom or sometimes premium over-the-counter inserts or orthotics.

    Interview conducted via e-mail by Patriot-News staff.

    Calluses are dense, hardened portions of skin that have formed due to constant strain, pressure, irritation, or agitation. Calluses typically form on the sides and soles of the feet.

    A corn is actually a type of callus. Corns usually show up on the smooth, thin portions of the foot’s skin – like the top of the foot and toes. They also vary from hard to soft; soft corns usually form between the middle toes, while hard corns usually form on the tops of the toes. Seed corns, found on the bottom of the foot, occur when sweat ducts are blocked.

    Corns and calluses can cause a tremendous amount of foot pain & discomfort, and left untreated, they can result in serious potential side effects.

    Professional assessment is the first step to clearing up corns and calluses; schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists today and explore your treatment options.


    Corns and calluses are caused largely by the same things, including:

    1. Abnormal walking tendencies/abnormal foot architecture or structure
    2. Shoes that don’t fit well
    3. Not wearing socks with shoes, boots, sandals etc.
    4. Constant stress/rubbing on a certain area of the foot

    Symptoms & Identification

    Corns and calluses can be identified by these common symptoms:

    1. Dense bumps/patches on the skin
    2. Tenderness/burning around raised portions of skin
    3. Hurtful upon touch and pressure

    Plantar warts are often wrongfully identified calluses, along with several more serious ailments. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get a professional opinion when identifying ailments.


    Care & Treatment

    Calluses are not necessarily bad for you, but if they are causing pain they should be checked out immediately. Corns, however, can lead to staph infections and begin to secrete puss. It’s important to have them checked out as soon as possible!

    Advanced Foot and Ankle can usually treat your corns and calluses with conservative treatments, including trimmings to relieve pain, applying padding to the area, and offloading (reducing pressure on the ailment) when necessary. Topical medications are also available to help slow or prevent corn and callus regrowth. You should consult a podiatrist before applying any home remedies.

    Same day surgical treatment options are available for corns and calluses that are resistant to conservative treatments. You should never cut or trim your corn or callus on your own.

    For more information on corns and calluses, or to have your feet assessed and treated, contact us today to schedule an appointment at the Advanced Food & Ankle clinic nearest you.

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    Calluses and Corns

    Surgery is rarely used to treat calluses or corns. But if a bone structure (such as a hammer toe or bunion) is causing a callus or corn, surgery can be used to change or remove the bone structure. This is used only if other treatment has failed.

    If you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, peripheral neuropathy, or other conditions that cause circulatory problems or numbness, talk to your doctor before you try any treatment for calluses or corns.

    How can calluses and corns be prevented?

    Calluses and corns can be prevented by reducing or eliminating pressure on the skin.

    Calluses on your hands usually can be prevented by wearing gloves to protect your hands, such as when gardening or lifting weights. Calluses on your feet can usually be prevented by wearing shoes and socks that fit well.

    Corns on your feet can usually be prevented by wearing shoes that have a wider toe box. So can getting both feet measured by a shoe store clerk before buying a pair of shoes.

    • Wear shoes that fit well.
    • Wear gloves while using a tool such as a garden spade or rake. If you expose other parts of your body to friction, wear appropriate padding. For example, if you are on your knees laying carpet, wear knee pads.

    The way you walk can be affected by the bones in your feet or even tight calf muscles. If so, a podiatrist may be able to help you make changes that can prevent foot problems like calluses and corns.

    Ugh. Something wicked is rubbing against your shoe as you walk, but is it a corn or a callus? Believe it or not, these sometimes-painful occurrences are nature’s way of protecting the soft tissue in your foot. How? By making the outer surface tough and hard. This protects your foot from excess pressure and friction and is called hyperkeratosis (an abnormal thickening of an outer layer of skin).

    People with bony toes or soft skin tend to suffer from corns and calluses more frequently, but they are ultimately common in all types of feet. Both conditions are often painful, but not always. In most cases, they result from poorly fitting shoes.

    Shop Now for Shoes for Calluses

    Here’s a quick way to tell the difference between a corn and a callus:

    Corn: associate corns with your toes. Corns are a build up of hard skin, usually found near the bony area of a toe or even between toes. They often look waxy or discolored and are usually round in shape. The probable cause: pressure from your shoes, which rub against the toes when they don’t fit properly. Corns are also frequent when you wear shoes without socks.

    Hard corns and soft corns: you’ll find hard corns at the top of the smaller toes or on the outer side of the little toe. These are the typical spots where poorly fitting shoes tend to rub most. Soft corns often happen between the toes; they stay soft because the sweat between your toes keeps them moist. Don’t let soft corns live too long – they can become infected.

    How to remove corns: never try to remove them with a sharp object, like a scissors, razor or knife. Instead, use a gentler and more sensitive pumice stone or emery board to remove the built-up tissue. Always move the pumice stone or emery board in one direction only. You can also try cushioned or medicated pads, which are sold over the counter. Always recommended: seeing an experienced podiatrist to do the job.

    Calluses: this is also a build up of hard skin, but instead of on the toes, calluses are found on the underside of the foot. Calluses are considered a relatively normal dysfunction in the life of your feet, but they also can be caused by improperly fitting shoes.

    How to remove calluses: first, take a warm bath or shower. Directly afterward, use a pumice stone to remove the tissue buildup. If you’re not cut out for this kind of work, see an experienced podiatrist.

    How you can prevent corns and calluses: wear shoes that fit properly and always wear socks that wick away perspiration. Keep your feet dry.

    The type of shoes that are probably giving you corns and calluses:tight or poorly fitting shoes are more than likely always the main cause. Select shoes that reduce pressure and rubbing on the toes and forefeet. Make sure your shoes allow plenty of room for your toes, and that feature soft uppers and low heels.

    Recommendation: an orthotic shoe with extra depth and supportive insoles that absorb shock and alleviate the pressure from these sensitive and vulnerable spots.

    to find out how you can select the right type of shoes for corns and calluses.

    Whether it’s sandal season or boot season, you may be thinking it’s time to do something about that bunion jutting out at the base of your big toe.

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    Doctors call that bunion hallux valgus. It forms when the bone or tissue at the joint at the bottom of the big toe moves out of place. Years of abnormal motion and pressure on the joint forces the big toe to bend toward the others, which causes an often-painful bunion on the joint.

    This joint at the base of the big toe carries much of your weight while walking, so bunions can cause severe and constant pain. The joint may become so stiff and sore that shoes are painful to wear.

    Are stilettos to blame?

    Bunions often run in families, but they also can be the result of the way we walk or the shoes we wear, says podiatrist Georgeanne Botek, DPM, Head of the Section of Podiatry.

    Women develop bunions far more often than men, Dr. Botek says, especially as they get older.

    People with flexible joints seem to tolerate their bunions more. But others with stiff joints or arthritis usually have more trouble with their bunions and might develop pain earlier, she says.

    If you develop a bunion, talk to your family doctor. He or she may refer you to a podiatrist who diagnoses and treats conditions of the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg.

    Treating bunions without surgery

    Bunions are permanent unless surgically corrected. But there are some measures you can take to be more comfortable or to slow a bunion’s progression, says podiatrist Dina Stock, DPM.

    “For many people, it may simply be a matter of wearing properly fitting shoes,” she says. “Be sure to choose low-heeled, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes and the widest part of your foot.”

    Dr. Stock says these seven approaches may relieve the pain and pressure on the toe joint:

    1. Maintain a healthy weight.
    2. Protect the bunion with a moleskin or gel-filled pad, which you can buy at a drugstore.
    3. Use shoe inserts to help position the foot correctly. These can be over-the-counter arch supports or prescription orthotic devices.
    4. Under a doctor’s guidance, wear a splint at night to hold the toe straight and ease discomfort.
    5. Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
    6. Use warm soaks, ice packs, Whirlpool, ultrasound and massage.
    7. Buy well-fitting footwear that’s wide in the toe area. Shop at a store where the staff measures your foot and can fit you with an appropriate shoe.

    Some people are interested in treating their bunions by stretching the feet to realign the toes, or using devices such as toe spacers or bunion splints, Dr. Botek says. Often though, the device is like a pair of eyeglasses – when you take it off, the benefit is gone.

    “It won’t completely realign your toe permanently,” Dr. Botek says.

    When it’s time for surgery

    If your bunion is very painful, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. “First do surgery on your shoes,” Dr. Botek states. “If pain persists for more than a year, it may be time to consider bunion surgery, but most patients will have bunions and pain on and off for years before electing for surgery.”

    Your doctor also may recommend surgery because bunions can result in other painful foot problems, such as hammertoes, bursitis, a bunion below the little toe, or pain in the balls of your feet, Dr. Botek says. Surgery can be done on mild or severe cases.

    Suggested by Cleveland Clinic

    When Should I Have Surgery for My Bunions?

    “When patients come in at an older age, usually it’s because the bunion is causing other problems,” Dr. Botek says. “For these patients, the pain is more constant or is creating problems with the second toe.”

    The goal of surgery is to relieve pain and return the big toe to its correct position. A surgeon puts bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves back into correct order, and removes the bump.

    There are more than 150 types of bunion surgery, but surgeons typically choose one from about a half-dozen commonly used procedures, Dr. Botek says.

    Organic Home Remedies for Bunions, Calluses, Corns and more

    Natural Ingredient DIY Remedies for Bunions, Calluses, Corns and Warts

    It’s usually best to seek medical advice from a physician prior to treating yourself. However, if you find yourself unable to seek treatment immediately, the following organic, natural home remedies are used by many individuals.

    What is a Bunion?

    A Bunion is a painful swelling on the first joint of the big toe. Bunions form when your big toe points toward the second toe. This causes a bump to appear on the inside edge of your toe.

    Organic Home Remedies for Bunions using all Natural Ingredients

    Fresh Pineapple


    Swirl a few tablespoons of Fresh Pineapple in a food processor into a paste.

    Gently apply the Fresh Pineapple paste onto the affected area.

    Allow the paste to remain on the area for at least 30 minutes, but up to 60 minutes.

    Rinse area with warm water.

    Repeat this process daily until Bunion dissipates.

    Fresh Turmeric


    Finely slice a one inch portion of Fresh Tumeric root.

    Swirl in a food processor (Ninja or Magic Bullet) until a paste forms.

    Using a cotton ball, apply the Tumeric paste to the affected area, and allow to remain for 30 minutes.

    Repeat this process 2 times per day to help with pain and swelling.

    Organic Castor Oil


    Add 2 tablespoons of Castor Oil to a small sauce pan, and warm the Castor Oil.

    Using a cotton ball, apply the warm Castor Oil to the affected area.

    Gently massage the foot after applying, to ease swelling and pain.

    Repeat this process up to twice per day for at least 2 weeks.

    view Organic Castor Oil at

    What is a Callus?

    Similar to a Corn, a Callus is a hard and rough-feeling area of skin that may develop on hands, feet, or anywhere there’s repeated friction. The common Callus usually are seen where there’s been constant rubbing / friction against the hands or feet. A plantar callus is found on the bottom of the foot.

    Organic Home Remedies for Calluses using all Natural Ingredients

    White Vinegar


    Soak a cotton ball White Vinegar and cover with a sterile gauze bandage.

    Leave on overnight.

    Exfoliate in the morning with a pumice stone.

    Apply olive oil or coconut oil to the Callus area to keep it soft.

    Repeat this process each night until the Callus dissipates.

    view Sterile Gauze Bandages here or here at

    Organic Sea Salt


    Mix together 1 part Sea Salt to 1 part olive oil to form a paste, set aside.

    Soak affected area (whether it’s on foot or hand) in warm water for 10 minutes.

    Gently scrub the paste mixture over the Callus area in small circular motions for several minutes.

    Rise area (foot or hand) with warm water and pat dry.

    Apply coconut oil or olive oil to Callus area to keep it soft.

    Cover with a bandage if necessary.

    Repeat this process once daily until the Callus dissipates.

    view Organic Sea Salt on

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    Epsom Salts

    Mix together hot water and 3/4 cup Epsom Salts and site thoroughly until the salts are completely dissolved … run hot water in a bathtub, or place enough hot water in a container deep enough to cover the affected area.

    Soak affected area with the Callus in this mixture for 10 minutes.

    Gently exfoliate the callus for several minutes, in a circular motion using a pumice stone.

    Rinse Callus with warm water.

    Pat dry and rub a small amount of coconut oil or olive oil over the area.

    Cover with a bandage if needed.

    Repeat this process daily until the Callus dissipates.

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    Fresh Lemon and Lemon Peel


    Place a small piece of Fresh Lemon Peel directly on the Callus.

    Place a gauze bandage around the Fresh Lemon Peel to keep it in place, and leave on overnight.

    In the morning, replace the Fresh Lemon Peel with a new slice.

    Repeat daily.

    Within a few days, the Callus should dissipate.

    As an alternative, substitute Fresh Lemon juice for the Lemon Peel.

    Soak a cotton ball in Fresh Lemon juice and place on the callus. Cover with a bandage.

    In the morning, remove the cotton ball, and replace with a new one soaked in Fresh Lemon juice. Bandage and leave on until the next morning.

    Repeat this process daily until the Callus dissipates.

    What is a Corn?

    A hard Corn is a small patch of thickened, dead skin with a small plug of skin in the center. A soft Corn has a much thinner surface, appears whitish and rubbery, and usually occurs between the toes. Corns usually are seen on the tops and sides of the toes. Seed Corns are clusters of tiny Corns that can be very tender if they’re on a weight-bearing part of the foot, and normally are seen on the bottom of the feet.

    Organic Home Remedies for Corns using all Natural Ingredients

    Baking Soda

    Baking soda acts as a natural exfoliating agent that helps slough off surface dead skin covering the corn. Baking Soda has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal to keep your skin free from infections.


    Measure 2 to 3 tablespoons of Baking Soda, and add to a bowl of warm water.

    Soak feet in this mixture for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Gently rub the affected area with a pumice stone to remove dead skin.

    Repeat this process daily until the Corn dissipates.

    If using Baking Soda by itself doesn’t seem to be working for you, add some Lemon:

    Measure 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda and a couple squirts of fresh Lemon juice and a few drops of water into a small cup or bowl.

    Stir to make a paste.

    Apply the paste with a cotton swab to the Corn area. Cover with a gauze bandage and leave on overnight.

    In the morning, rinse or wipe off the paste with warm water, then exfoliate with a pumice stone.

    Perform daily until the Corn dissipates.

    White Vinegar

    White Vinegar is highly acidic, which will break down and soften hard skin. White vinegar also reduces infection risks as it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.


    Mix 1 part White Vinegar with 3 parts warm water in a small cup or bowl.

    Just before going to bed, use a cotton ball to dab the Corn area several times with the mixture.

    Apply coconut oil or olive oil to the Corn area to keep it soft.

    Cover the area with a gauze bandage and leave on overnight.

    In the morning, gently exfoliate the hard skin over the Corn with a pumice stone or foot emery board.

    Repeat this process daily until the Corn dissipates.

    view Organic Coconut Oil on

    Lemon and Cloves

    Fresh Lemon is also highly acidic and will soften hard skin.


    Place 2 Whole Cloves in 1 tablespoon of fresh Lemon juice and soak for 15 minutes.

    Remove Cloves.

    Using a cotton ball, rub the Lemon juice (minus cloves) onto the Corn area.

    Allow to air dry.

    Apply the Lemon juice to the Corn for a second time, air dry 15 minutes.

    Repeat this process 2 to 3 times per day.

    view Organic Whole Cloves on

    What is a Wart?

    Warts are caused by a virus, and are rough to the touch and may be sprinkled with black pinpoints. Typically small, hard growths similar in color to the rest of the skin. Normally Warts appear on the hands and feet, but can also affect other locations.

    Organic Home Remedies for Warts using all Natural Ingredients

    Fresh Papaya

    Papaya actually contains an enzyme that digests dead tissue, so it works nicely in facial peels and in this instance many use it for dissolving Warts.


    Use an unripe Fresh Papaya.

    Over a glass bowl, make shallow cuts with a knife on the Papaya surface, collecting the juice that dribbles out of the Papaya into the bowl.

    Let the Papaya juice sit until it becomes semi-solid.

    Gently stir a bit of warm water into the Papaya juice.

    Apply the juice to the affected area at least twice a day, usually morning and at night.

    Cover with a bandage. Repeat this process daily.

    Apple Cider Vinegar
    (use Bragg’s brand, with the mother)


    Soak a cotton ball in Apple Cider Vinegar and apply to the Wart.

    Place the soaked cotton ball (wring out gently) on the Wart area.

    Wrap in a plastic wrap (like used in the kitchen) so the ACV will be sealed in.

    Cover with a bandage.

    Repeat this process every 12 to 24 hours for at least 1 week.

    In a couple of days, you may notice swelling and/or feel some throbbing from the area, indicating the ACV is working to break down the Wart.

    The Wart will most likely turn a blackish color. Repeat the process until the Wart dissipates, and continue with this treatment for at least week after the Wart has fallen off, to be sure it doesn’t return.

    More Footcare Tips