Conditions & Treatments

Calluses and Corns

Calluses are protective pads made up of the thickened upper layer of skin due to repeated rubbing of the area. Corns are small calluses that develop on the top of the toes due to pressure or rubbing against shoes or other toes.

Calluses and Corns

What are calluses and corns?

Calluses develop as a normal response to chronic excessive friction and pressure. They are protective pads made up of a thickened upper layer of skin. Corns are small calluses that develop on the top of the toes due to pressure or rubbing against shoes or other toes. Both can be the result of poorly fitting shoes, abnormal foot function, or high activity levels. 

Treatment for calluses and corns

Calluses are usually painless, but corns can be quite painful. Sometimes, corns are confused with warts. Calluses can be avoided by removing the source of the rubbing and thinning the callus with a pumice stone. Treatment for corns should provide symptom relief as well as lessen the underlying cause. Treatment options may include:

  • Applying pads around the corn area

  • Wearing larger, more comfortable shoes

  • Surgery is only considered if other measures fail 

Calluses and corns are rarely a serious condition. However, people with diabetes are prone to infections and ulcers and should examine their feet on a regular basis. If any sores are noticed, they should seek medical attention right away.   

Treatment Programs


Massachusetts General Hospital understands that a variety of factors influence patients' health care decisions. That's just one reason why we're dedicated to ensuring patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because a single option might not serve all patients, we offer a wide range of coordinated treatments and related services across the hospital. Patients should consult with their primary care doctor or other qualified health care provider for medical advice and diagnosis information.

Select a treatment program for more information:



Imaging

  • Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention
    The Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers state-of-the-art diagnostic exams including MRI and CT, interpretation by specialty-trained radiologists, and image-guided procedures for the bones, joints, and spine.
MassGeneral Hospital for Children

  • Pediatric Orthopaedics
    The MassGeneral Hospital for Children Orthopaedics Service provides clinical care to infants, children and adolescents, from birth to college age, for the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal problems.
Department of Dermatology

  • The Medical Dermatology Program
    The Medical Dermatology program at Massachusetts General Hospital is a full-service dermatology practice that provides care for all skin, hair and nail conditions.
Department of Orthopaedics

  • Podiatry Service
    Our Podiatrists provide state-of-the-art outpatient and surgical care treating conditions like hammertoes, Morton’s neuroma, Plantar Fasciitis, geriatric foot care and bunions.
  • Foot and Ankle Service
    Our Best of Boston Foot and Ankle surgeons provide personalized patient care to treat Achilles tendonitis, tears, bunions, diabetic foot problems and ankle arthritis using the latest surgical techniques.

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