Foot Care from A to Z

Thomas P. Lyman, BS; Tracey C. Vlahovic, DPM, FAPWCA


Dermatology Nursing 

In This Article

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are another source of discomfort resulting from inherited foot type and biomechanics. The body responds to excess pressure or friction by thickening the stratum corneum (Springett, Whiting, & Marriott, 2003). The thick, hard skin causes pain and irritation to the patient. Corns are defined as well-demarcated lesions on the bony surfaces of toes (see Figure 1). Calluses are generally any other thickening or hardening of the skin on the feet. Immediate relief is felt by debriding the excess skin with a sharp blade. Debridement will generally need to be performed every 6–8 weeks to keep the patient comfortable. Other methods of treatment include wider and deeper shoes, padding the area to take pressure off of the boney prominences, shoe inserts or orthotics, and urea 40% creams to soften the skin (Grouios, 2004; Thomas et al., 2009a). If conservative treatments fail and the patient still has pain, surgical correction of the underlying boney deformity may be performed.

Figure 1.

A corn on the dorsum of the fourth toe ready to be sharply debrided.