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Seven steps your patients can take when treating corns and calluses at home

Here are seven recommendations you can pass along to your patients to help them treat corns and calluses at home, from a New York-based dermatologist courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

“Calluses can develop anywhere on the body where there is repeated friction, such as a guitar player’s fingertips or a mechanic’s palms,” said dermatologist Dr. Nada Elbuluk, assistant professor of dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.

“Corns typically develop on the tops and sides of the toes and on the balls of the feet, and common causes are arthritis or poorly-fitting shoes,” added Dr. Elbuluk, who was quoted in an AAD press release.

When a patient is treating corns and calluses at home, Dr. Elbuluk recommends the following tips to her patients:

  1. Soak the corn or callus in warm water: Do this for about five to 10 minutes or until the skin softens.

  2. File the corn or callus with a pumice stone: First dip the pumice stone in warm water, and then use the stone to gently file the corn or callus. Use circular or sideways motions to remove dead skin.

  3. Be careful not to take off too much skin: Doing so could cause bleeding and infection.

  4. Apply moisturizing lotion or cream to the area daily: Look for a moisturizing lotion or cream with salicylic acid, ammonium lactate, or urea. These ingredients will help gradually soften hard corns and calluses.

  5. Use padding: To protect calluses from further irritation during activity, cut a piece of moleskin into two half-moon shapes and place around the callus. To prevent a corn from making contact with the shoe, surround the corn with donut-shaped adhesive pads.

  6. Wear shoes that properly fit: A common cause of corns is a shoe that isn’t the right size and shape for the foot. To get the right fit, shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet may be slightly swollen. In addition, ask a clerk to measure your foot, and choose shoes that are not too loose or tight.

  7. Keep toenails trimmed: Toenails that are too long can force the toes to push up against your shoe, causing a corn to form over time. To remove this pressure, keep your toenails trimmed.

“Most corns and calluses gradually go away when the friction or pressure causing them stops,” said Dr. Elbuluk.

These tips are demonstrated in “How to Treat Corns and Calluses,” a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel.

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