House Call: How to Treat Corns, Calluses and Bunions

Corns and calluses are skin conditions that occur as the body’s response to friction or pressure against the skin.  They are also often the first sign of a bunion, hammer toe or other bony deformity on the foot. 

Corns can range from a slight thickening of the skin to a painful, hard bump, and often form on top of buckled toe joints (hammer toes).

Calluses are commonly a more spread out area of thickened skin, and often occur on the balls of the feet. 

A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe (the metatarsal-phalangeal [MTP] joint) that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place.  This forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing a prominent lump of bone that is often painful.

Bunions are generally progressive in nature, brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the MTP joint.  Bunions are most often symptoms of faulty foot function, the way we walk, inherited foot type and/or shoe gear aggravation.

It is important to see a podiatrist at the first sign of pain or discomfort in the MTP joint to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.  Conservative treatment options for bunions include changing the type/shape of the shoe, orthotic inserts, physical therapy, medications, and using padding, taping and/or bracing to control the symptoms and slow the progression of the deformity. 

If these options do not improve the condition, then surgical intervention is discussed as the next line of treatment.  Surgery can remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and/or relieve pain. 

Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of podiatrists and related healthcare providers dedicated to treating individuals with foot problems, such as corns, calluses and bunions, throughout the community.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Richard Sikora is a podiatrist at Triad Foot Center and a member of the Cone Health Medical Staff.  Dr. Sikora received his medical degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, and completed his residency training at the Central Carolina Residency Program. He has been in private practice since 1990 and is certified in Foot Surgery by the American board of Podiatric Surgery.