Our Experienced TX Podiatrists Explain Why You Should Have a Foot Doctor Remove Your Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that your body develops to protect the skin when it’s under constant friction or pressure. These annoying rough spots aren’t usually painful when they initially develop, but they can create discomfort over time and even lead to infections. Don't remove your own calluses and corns

The dedicated podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists routinely help patients address these unpleasant skin problems. Here, we discuss why it’s important to have a foot doctor remove your corns and calluses rather than try to cut them out or remove them yourself.

What to Know About Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are growths that develop to protect your skin. Both are layers of thick, hard skin that commonly build up on your feet and toes. Corns are typically small and round and found on the sides or top of your toes. Calluses, on the other hand, are usually harder, thicker patches of skin on the bottom of your feet where you put the most weight.

There are many reasons corns and calluses develop on your feet, including the following:

  • Wearing shoes and/or socks that don’t fit properly
  • Not wearing socks
  • Wearing shoes that compress your foot, such as high heels
  • Wearing shoes that don’t fit snugly enough, allowing your feet to slip around and rub against the interior

Additionally, if you suffer from bunions or other similar foot conditions, the bony protrusion at the inside of your foot can rub against the interior of the shoe and cause a callus to develop.

Don’t Remove Corns and Calluses Yourself

People are sometimes tempted to remove corns and calluses themselves. They may try to cut, trim, or shave them off with tools from a store or even a razor blade. But it’s never a good idea to perform “bathroom surgery” on your foot, especially if you have underlying health issues, such as diabetes or neuropathy, which can make it more difficult for your feet to heal. If you attempt to cut off a corn or callus, you may also remove too much skin, causing excessive bleeding, pain, and possible infection.  

While it’s true that you don’t always need a podiatrist to remove a corn or callus, it’s important to make a doctor’s appointment when one of these rough spots starts interfering with your daily activities. If it becomes difficult to walk, causes you pain, or recurs, it’s a good idea to see a knowledgeable Austin podiatrist.  

Possible Complications of Self-Treating Your Corn or Callus

You may feel it’s more convenient to trim your corn or callus at home; however, doing this yourself can lead to an infection. You may not be able to properly sanitize your hands or the tool you’re using, and consequently, you may introduce bacteria into the open area. There are other reasons not to self-treat your corn or callus, including the following:

  • If you remove too much skin, you may dig into the healthy layers beneath. This can lead to a much larger open wound or one that is far too deep, increasing the risk of infection.
  • If you cut a corn or callus that is close to a toenail, you can increase the development of an ingrown toenail. Ingrown nails can be painful, become easily infected, and require treatment by a podiatrist.

When to Call Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists About Your Corn or Callus

If you have underlying health concerns, your corn or callus is causing you pain, or you believe your corn or callus might be infected, you should call our Central Texas office right away to schedule an appointment. Also, watch for other serious signs of infection:

  • Pus weeping from the area
  • Changes in color
  • Significant bleeding
  • Persistent pain or discomfort

How a Podiatrist Treats Your Corn or Callus

Calluses and corns that develop on the bottoms of your feet can usually be removed by your podiatrist in a single appointment. Your podiatrist will reduce the size of the callus by shaving the skin away with a surgical blade, leaving a small, protective layer of skin intact.

For corns, a podiatrist will usually use a scalpel to shave away the thick skin, taking it off in thin layers, and not touching the healthy tissue below. They may also scoop out the center of the corn, which may leave a small hole or hollow in the foot.  

Because the skin of a corn or callus is already dead, the procedure is usually painless with no need for a local anesthetic.

If you have a very deep corn, the podiatrist may make an incision to remove it. Stitches may be placed under the skin, as well. It’s a minimally invasive procedure, and you may be given a local anesthetic. Patients usually experience very little pain afterward; however, they may need to avoid putting full weight on the foot for a few weeks.

What Not to Do

Many podiatrists advise against using corn pads on your feet. These pads can be bought at the store and contain an acid that is intended to eat away at the corn over time. However, the size of the corn pads is often bigger than the corn, and the acid can eat into the healthy skin around the corn. This often causes redness, swelling, and pain.

Pumice stones can also be risky for removing corns and calluses. Even though they can help to remove the hard skin that has built up on your foot, they can also cause trauma to your skin if you rub too hard. Consequently, more callus tissue can build up when the skin is traumatized.

Craig Thomajan
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Austin Podiatrist
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