How to Treat Corns on Toes

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When shoes rub repeatedly on the same area of the toes, the area forms a thick, protective barrier to protect the skin from further damage and pain. These small, round barriers or calluses are known as corns when they appear on top of the toes. Called corns because of their frequently yellow coloring, they are both unsightly and painful. Fortunately, they can be treated and eliminated with a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Properly fitting shoes
  • Water
  • Pumice stone
  • Salicylic acid
  • Toe pads

Stop wearing ill-fitting shoes that are too tight or narrow and rub against the tops or sides of the toes, exacerbating existing corns or creating new ones.

Soak the affected area in clean, warm water to soften the corn. Or rub salicylic acid directly onto the corn, which will also have a softening effect. Both water and the salicylic acid can be used if the corns are especially stubborn.

Use a pumice stone to gently rub away the excess dead skin that forms the corn, being careful not to remove healthy skin and cause further injury.

Apply protective toe pads made in a circular shape especially for corns or cut your own from Moleskin to speed healing and prevent shoes from directly rubbing the affected area, worsening the condition or possibly introducing infection.

Visit a doctor to have her cut away the corn if the condition persists after self-treatment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear only comfortable shoes that allow plenty of room at the front for the toes. Toes should be able to wiggle slightly in a properly fitting shoe.
  • Never use a sharp object, such as clippers or scissors, to cut a corn. This can introduce infection to the area or may result in a puncture-wound injury. This type of treatment should be performed only by a medical professional. Do not allow salicylic acid to touch the skin surrounding the corn, as this can irritate the undamaged skin. Avoid high heels or other shoes that come to a point at the toe.

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