What are Corns and Calluses?
If you are reading this article, it is likely that you are familiar with the circles of thickened skin on your feet that we call corns and calluses. They typically develop on the toes and feet when your skin gets exposed to excessive friction although they can develop elsewhere on the body especially on the hands and the fingers.
Corns and calluses are often referred to in the same breath but they are not actually the same thing. You may have one or the other if you notice one of the following symptoms:
- A raised hardened bump on your skin.
- A rough, thick area on your skin.
- Pain and tenderness under the skin.
- Dried, flaky or waxy feeling skin.
What is the difference between a corn and a callus?
Are typically smaller than a callus. They are hard at the center and are surrounded by swollen and inflamed skin. Corns typically develop on areas of the feet that do not bear much weight such as the sides or tops of the toes and even the areas between the toes but can also occur in areas that do bear weight. They tend to be quite painful when they are pressed.
Are very painful and usually occur on the soles of the feet typically under the balls or heels. They may also develop on the knees or palms of the hand. They vary in shape but are usually bigger than corns.
What Cause Corns and Calluses?
By far the most common reason for developing a corn is wearing poorly fitting shoes. While walking and running in shoes that don’t fit causes more problems, simply standing in them can result in a corn.
Other causes include, walking barefoot, not wearing socks, and activities that put significant pressure on your feet like sport and manual labor. People with other conditions like bunions, scars or warts are more prone to developing corns.
Calluses may occur as a result of repeated pressure from using hand tools, playing a musical instrument or even writing.
Remedies for Corns and Calluses
Treatment for both corns and calluses typically involves just avoiding the actions that caused them in the first place. They should heal by simply eliminating the pressure or friction source. By and large, they should not cause any lasting problems and should heal quickly.
However, people with diabetes or other conditions that cause poor inadequate flow are more prone to complications and may need medical advice.
If you find that your corn or callus continues to linger, there are several natural remedies that are simple, safe and effective.
1. Castor Oil and Pumice Stone Massage
A very simple and effective way to eliminate corns and calluses is to massage them with a pumice stone. This can help remove any hard, dead skin which results in less pain and can speed up the recovery.
- Before bed, soak your foot in hot water for around 10 minutes in order to soften your skin.
- Gently rub your pumice stone over the corn or callus for around 5 minutes then dry your feet thoroughly.
- Next, dip some cotton wool in castor oil then place it on your corn. Secure the cotton ball with a plaster or tape and leave it in place overnight.
- In the morning, remove the cotton ball.
- Repeat the process each day until the corn or callus has disappeared.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as being able to exfoliate the skin gently making it ideal for removing dead and dried skin and speeding up your recovery.
- Add three heaped tablespoons of your baking soda to a bowl of hot water and soak you affected foot or feet for at least 10 minutes.
- Massage your corn or callus with a pumice stone for 5 minutes.
Alternatively, make a paste by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with water and lemon juice.
- Apply the paste to your corn, cover with a plaster and leave overnight. Use a pumice stone to wash the area the following morning.
The good old lemon is another excellent home remedy to remove corns from the feet. The acid contained by the fruit helps to soften up the rough, hard skin allowing it to drop away more easily.
- Apply the juice of a fresh lemon to your corn or callus several times a day but make sure that you let it dry well.
- An alternative option is to combine your lemon juice with cloves. Soak a couple of cloves in a tablespoon or so of fresh lemon juice and after 10 or so minutes apply the juice to your corn or callus. Allow the corn to dry and repeat the treatment twice each day.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
While plain white vinegar can be effective, apple cider vinegar is a better option. It has excellent antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which can help prevent further infection and also an acid content that can soften the area of affected skin.
- Mix your apple cider vinegar with water in a 1 to 3 ratio.
- Apply the solution to the callus or corn each evening before bed.
- Cover with a plaster and let it work overnight.
- Give it a massage with a pumice stone the following morning then moisturize it with a good quality oil like coconut oil.
Here is another excellent use for good old garlic which is a staple of so many home remedies. Garlic is full of excellent healthy properties – it is high in antioxidants and is also both antibacterial and anti-fungal which can help prevent skin infections from taking hold.
There are several ways to use garlic to treat your corns and calluses.
- You can simply rub a peeled clove onto the affected area then cover with a plaster.
- Alternatively, you could make a paste by combining it a few cloves with lemon juice and water and apply the paste before bed. Cover with a plaster or bandage then make sure you rinse it well the following morning.
6. Onion and White Vinegar
- Put a few slices of onion into a container then pour some plain white vinegar over the top of it.
- Leave your container for a day in a warm area for the solution to combine well.
- Before bed, place a slice of onion onto your corn or your callus and secure it with a bandage for the night.
- The corn should be sufficiently soft to remove it the next morning but if it is not, simply repeat the process each day until it has softened more.
7. Castor Oil
Castor oil is a surprisingly effective remedy for corns. It can be applied easily to the affected areas and will help to soften the rough skin making it easier to remove.
- Take a cotton swab, dip it into your castor oil and dab it onto your corn.
- Cover it up with a bandage or tape and leave it on overnight.
8. Epsom Salt
An Epsom salt soak is an excellent way to get rid of calluses in particular.
- Simply throw a cupful of Epsom salts in a bowl of comfortable hot water and soak your feet in it for 15 or so minutes.
- After the skin has softened, rub it gently with a pumice stone.
- Do this each day until the callus has cleared up.
- Crush up 4 or 5 aspirin tablets then mix them well in a solution made with water and apple cider vinegar.
- When you have just the right quantity to produce a smooth paste, rub it onto your corns or calluses and hold the paste in place with a bandage.
- After 30 minutes or so, remove the bandage and the corn should be sufficiently soft to rub off with a pumice stone.
We hope that some of these natural treatments work for you. Please let us know if they did and don’t forget to tell us if we have missed any remedies that you prefer.