Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.

Corns are thickened areas of skin that develop due to repeated pressure or friction, typically on the feet. They are a common foot problem and can be painful. Corns usually form over bony prominences such as the joints of the toes.

Common Symptoms

  • Hard Corns: Small, concentrated areas of hard skin, often found on the tops or sides of toes.
  • Soft Corns: Whitish, rubbery areas of skin that are often found between the toes.
  • Pain and Tenderness: Corns can be painful, especially when pressure is applied.
  • Thickened Skin: A noticeable thickening of the skin in the affected area.

Cause & Anatomy

  • Ill-Fitting Shoes: Tight or poorly fitting shoes can cause pressure and friction on the feet.
  • High Heels: High-heeled shoes can squeeze the toes and increase pressure on the forefoot.
  • Abnormal Gait: Walking in a way that places extra pressure on certain parts of the feet.
  • Manual Labor: Repeated use of tools or activities that put pressure on the hands and feet.
  • Deformities: Foot deformities such as hammertoes or bunions.


  • Medical History and Physical Examination: A healthcare provider will assess symptoms, review footwear habits, and examine the affected area.
  • X-rays: Occasionally, X-rays may be used to check for underlying bone abnormalities.


  • Choose Proper Footwear: Wear shoes that fit well and provide adequate room for your toes.
  • Use Protective Pads: Use cushioning pads to prevent pressure and friction.
  • Maintain Foot Hygiene: Regularly moisturize and care for your feet to keep the skin soft and healthy.
  • Correct Foot Deformities: Address any foot deformities with appropriate treatment to prevent corns.

Home Care Treatment

Proper Footwear:

  • Wear well-fitting shoes with adequate room for the toes.
  • Avoid high heels and tight shoes.

Protective Pads:

  • Use corn pads or cushions to reduce pressure on the affected area.

Foot Soaks:

  • Soak feet in warm, soapy water to soften the skin before gently filing the corn with a pumice stone.


  • Apply moisturizers to keep the skin soft and prevent dryness.

Medical Treatment


  • A healthcare provider can trim away the thickened skin with a scalpel. This should not be attempted at home to avoid infection or injury.

Medicated Corn Pads:

  • Over-the-counter pads containing salicylic acid can help dissolve the thickened skin. Use with caution, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

Orthotic Devices:

  • Custom orthotic devices can help redistribute pressure on the feet and prevent corns.


In rare cases, surgery may be required to correct underlying foot deformities causing the corns.


Are corns and calluses the same?
No, corns and calluses are similar but not the same. Corns are smaller, more concentrated areas of thickened skin, often on the tops or sides of toes, while calluses are larger, more diffuse areas of thickened skin, usually on the soles of the feet.

Can I remove a corn myself?
It’s best to see a healthcare provider for corn removal to avoid infection or injury. Home treatments like soaking and gentle filing can help manage corns.

Do corns go away on their own?
Corns may persist unless the underlying cause, such as pressure or friction, is addressed. Proper footwear and protective measures are essential for prevention and relief.

Can diabetics treat corns at home?
People with diabetes should seek professional medical care for corns to avoid complications such as infections.

How long does it take for a corn to heal?
Healing time varies depending on the severity and whether the cause of pressure or friction is eliminated. With proper care, corns can start to improve within a few weeks.

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