Houston podiatrist discusses Corn and Callus removersI get asked this question often, and I'm going to tell you the answer first. There is no best corn or callus remover. Hi, I'm Houston podiatrist, Dr. Andrew Schneider. A corn and a callus are very common conditions that people have, the young and the old and everywhere in between.

What a corn and a callus is, is a buildup of hard, dead thick skin that could form either on the bottom of your foot, a callus, or on the top of your foot at the top of your toes, a corn, or it could even happen in between your toes, a soft corn. It happens because of pressure. And so when you have continuous pressure in one particular area, let's say on the top of your fifth toe from a shoe, it's going to develop a hard dead layer of skin.

It's meant to protect you. But what can happen is that thick layer can get so hard it starts to become painful. So what do you do about a corn or a callus? Well, if you go to the pharmacy and you look at the foot care aisle, you're going to see a whole array of products that are designed for you to treat your corns and calluses. The problem is that the corn and callus removers often cause more problems than they solve.

I usually divide it into thirds. One third at a time, they work exactly as they're supposed to. They eliminate the dead skin and make you feel better. A third at a time, it causes a reaction and you'll actually build up more dead skin in that area because of the chemicals, which is an acid that's in the remover. And a third of a time, it does something terrible. It will actually burn a hole through the healthy skin. And I can't tell you how many ulcers that I've seen that have been caused by corn or callus removers.

So here's my suggestion. Number one, don't use corn or callus removers. They cause more problems than they solve and they can cause problems. And that's certainly true if you're diabetic or if you have poor sensation like someone with peripheral neuropathy, or if you have poor circulation. It is a recipe for disaster to use those products.

How do they work? They have acid that is unregulated to how much gets to the affected area and it will affect the healthy skin too. So don't put acid pads on your foot. You can use non-medicated pads to keep the pressure off of these areas. They're very successful and I have no quarrel with them. In fact, we carry them here in our office. Non-medicated pads definitely have a place.

The only way to fully and completely take care of a corn or callus is to take care of the underlying pressure that's causing it in the first place. And that either requires a change of shoes or may even require a surgical procedure. So if you do have corns or calluses, and you're just finding that they just keep coming back, which they will do, then don't wait. Come in and let's talk about it. Give us a call at the office and we'll schedule you for an immediate appointment.


Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.