One of the most common problems seen in our practice is that of corns and calluses. Everybody at some point in their live may have suffered from this problem. Though not a serious health hazard, it is an annoying and sometimes painful problem. So what are corns and calluses, why do they develop and how can be prevented or treated? This article will help to answer few of these questions and doubts.


Contrary to what people think corns and calluses are two separate problems. However both of them are areas of thickened skin which form as a result of excessive pressure or friction over a bony prominence. This thickening of the skin occurs as a defense mechanism of our body to the external pressure. Unfortunately this increasing thickened area of skin then exerts pressure on the surrounding tissue forming a vicious cycle. It is also important to remember that not all areas of thickened skin are corns or calluses. Therefore it is best to reach a correct diagnosis before treating.

CORNS - occur most commonly on the top and sides of your toes. They are smaller in size as compared to calluses usually less than a quarter of an inch in diameter. These corns can be painful and have a hard center. Corns are associated more with bony deformities like hammertoe. Even a bony spur can give rise to corns.
Sometimes soft corns can form between the toes. This appears as areas of moist white skin. If not treated these can be very painful and lead to complications like ulcer or sinus formation with infection. Soft corns are formed due to irregularities in shape of the toes.

CALLUSES - are found on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. They are rough to feel but very rarely painful. Their shape and size can vary and they have a diffuse appearance. The most common area where calluses form is underneath the ball of the great toe. This is a weight bearing area of the foot and a lot of pressure is exerted on this area. If the bones of the foot are slightly out of their alignment or have some deformity then this puts a lot of pressure of the sole causing calluses to form.
Similarly if your work entails you to use tools or other gadgets constantly with your hands you will develop calluses on your palms.


As explained earlier corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin formed due to constant pressure or friction of repetitive actions. The source of this pressure is what causes this problem.

1. Ill fitting shoes and footwear - People who have a habit of wearing tight shoes or very high heeled ones are at risk for developing corns and callosities. Similarly if you wear shoes, which are of a larger size then your feet tend to slide inside the shoe causing friction. Sometimes the seam or stitching of the shoe may exert pressure on your foot causing problems.
2. Not wearing socks - footwear without socks can lead to development of corns and calluses. This is due to the friction caused by the rubbing of the shoe on the skin of the foot. Also if your socks are too tight or if you are in the habit of wearing tight stockings it can lead to this problem.
3. Working with tools or appliances - you are at risk of developing corns and callosities on your hands if you working continuously with a tool or gadget. Some atheletes and sports people are prone to developing calluses and corns.
4. Hammertoes and other bony deformities - Hammertoe is a deformity of the toe where in which t becomes clenched and resembles a claw. This is normally seen in the toe right next to the big toe. Other bony deformities, which can give rise to this problem are Bunions. A Bunion is an abnormal bump that is present on the base of your big toe.
5. Bony spur - a spur is a foot deformity causing problems like calluses on the sole of the foot. Other foot abnormalities can also put extra pressure on certain parts causing this problem.


Though not a serious problem, corns or calluses can become complicated. The corn or callus can become infected especially if there is poor blood supply in that area. They can become very painful and inflamed. The wound can become very deep and expose the tendons or even bone below which puts these tissues at a risk of acquiring an infection.
People who are diabetic or have poor circulation are more at risk for corns or calluses to become complicated.


There are a number of over the counter remedies available like corn caps, certain creams and ointments. Your pedicurist will be ready to cut it for you or scrape the area. However all these are temporary shortcut measures and useless in the long run. They even have their side-effects especially the corn caps containing salicyclic acid. This can damage the skin around the corn or callus. Even getting it cut or surgically removed does not mean that it does not form again. The best solution is to treat the main cause and take the appropriate Homoeopathic medicine at the same time.

Externally 'THUJA' 10% mother tincture and 'HYPERICUM' 10% mother tincture helps in softening the corn and relieve the pain.


When internal treatment is given along with external care the corn or callus gets rapidly dissolved or absorbed.


This is one of the most effective and specific medicines for corns and callosites. It should be given in 200C or 1000C potency.


If the corn is situated on a nerve then it gives rise to excruciating pain, specially on the tips of the fingers and toes where the nerve supply is maximum. Hypericum 1000C in repeated dosage will help.


This medicine has dissolved a multiple number of 'HARD CORNS' and "HORNY CALLOSITIES" along with Thuja as an inter-current remedy. It has a special action on the thickened cells of the skin. Antimony Crud 200, 5 pills four times a day should be given.


This is specific when there are Hard Corns with cracks. These are very painful and bleed on touch or movement - Nitric Acid 200C, 5 pills should be given four times a day.

There are many more homoeopathic remedies for the treatment of these calluses and corns but each one is prescribed upon the totality of symptoms. If you are diabetic then please avoid getting your corn cut or being treated by a lay person. It is very important to keep your blood sugar under control so that the circulation to the feet and hands remain

Readers are advised that the medical advice offered in this column pertains to generalized treatment of condition. Kindly consult your doctor before self-medication