Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment for corns and calluses usually involves avoiding the repetitive actions that cause them to develop. Wearing properly fitting shoes, using protective pads and other self-care measures can help resolve them.

If a corn or callus persists or becomes painful despite your self-care efforts, medical treatments can provide relief:

  • Trimming. Your doctor can pare down thickened skin or trim a large corn with a scalpel, usually during an office visit. Don't try trimming yourself because it could lead to an infection.
  • Salicylic acid. Additionally, your doctor may apply a patch containing 40 percent salicylic acid (Curad Mediplast, Dr. Scholl's Corn Removers, others), which is available without a prescription. He or she will let you know how often you need to replace this patch, and may recommend that you use a pumice stone or a metal nail file to smooth away the dead skin before applying a new patch. Salicylic acid is also available in a topical form by prescription for large areas.
  • Antibiotic medication. Your doctor may also suggest applying an antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Shoe inserts. If you have an underlying foot deformity, your doctor may prescribe custom-made padded shoe inserts (orthotics) to prevent recurring corns or calluses.
  • Surgery. In rare instances, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the alignment of the bone causing the friction.
Apr. 05, 2011