How to Treat Painful Corns on Your Foot

Have you ever noticed that there are often thick, rough yellow patches on your feet or side of your toes? This condition is known as corns and occurs because of irritation and friction. Corns on your feet can be unpleasant to look at, and if left untreated, will grow to be sensitive and painful, turning something as simple as wearing shoes into a truly miserable experience.

Today, we’ll talk about how you’ll know when you have corn on the bottom of your foot and how you can treat them so they don’t return.

What are Corns?

Corns or calluses are just one way our bodies are affected by pressure, irritation, and friction. Most people who experience corns find them on their feet, but they can also be found on the hands if you repeatedly use your hands for the same motion, creating friction. For example, musicians who play instruments and athletes who use hand-held equipment like racquets and bats often develop calluses on their hands and fingers.

When they develop on the feet, corns can look similar to other foot conditions like bunions and calluses, but they behave differently.

What Does a Corn on Your Foot Look Like?

Unlike calluses, which are larger and found on your feet and heels soles, corns are small and typically have a more rigid center that’s surrounded by inflamed skin. They’re also painful when pressed, unlike calluses, which rarely cause pain.

Although they can be painful if left untreated, corns on your feet typically won’t cause long-term issues unless you have diabetes or poor circulation. If you’re affected by either of these conditions, even small corns can lead to infections, jeopardizing the health of your feet.

How to Get Rid of Corns on Your Foot

Once you’ve noticed that you have a painful corn on your foot, you should take steps to get rid of it right away. The longer you leave it, the more irritated and painful it will become. Here are some of the best methods for getting rid of your corns.


Since corns are simply dead skin that’s become hard, you can file away the corn, just like any other area of rough skin on your feet. First, soak your feet in warm water, making sure the corn is fully submerged. By doing this, you help to soften the skin, so it’s easier to remove the corn.

Then, while your feet are slightly damp, use a wet pumice stone or file against the corn and thickened skin in a gentle, circular motion. After a few passes, you should feel those areas get softer as the dead skin falls away. After you’re finished filing, dry your feet and apply moisturizer to keep the skin of the feet soft and supple.

Castor oil and corn pads

People with more sensitive feet, such as people who have diabetes, can soak their feet in warm water, then dry them before applying castor oil to the corn. You can find castor oil at most pharmacies. Castor oil helps to keep the corn moisturized, so it doesn’t become rigid and hard.

After the castor oil is applied, a corn pad is placed around the corn to protect it from friction. These little foam pads have a cut-out area for the corn, allowing it to heal while cushioning it from pressure.

Over-the-counter solutions

There are several over-the-counter options available today that can help remove corns. Corn removers, which look similar to corn pads, are the most popular.

Corn removers consist of two parts- a medicated side soaked in salicylic acid and a sticky foam side that helps the salicylic acid solution to adhere while cushioning the corn from pressure.

Most brands promise that their products can eliminate corns in under two weeks.

Preventing Corns on Your Feet

You can remove corns with little effort, but the best thing is to stop them from developing in the first place. By adopting these simple habits, you can help prevent corns and the foot problems created by them.

Shoes and socks that fit properly

The best way to prevent corns is to wear shoes and socks that fit correctly. You should always feel comfortable in your shoes, even if you wear them for many hours a day. Ill-fitting shoes must go - they should never pinch, irritate, or put pressure on your feet.

Toenail maintenance

If your toenails are long, they will impede the area of your shoes that were meant for your toes, putting pressure on them and causing irritation. To keep your feet and toes comfortable in your shoes, make sure to trim your toenails regularly.

Corn pads

If you notice that there are areas of your feet developing rough skin, this could eventually lead to corns. If you can’t replace your shoes right away, use corn pads to relieve pressure off this area.

Foot cleanliness

Feet that are dirty, sweaty, or covered in dry skin are prone to friction, which is an early warning sign for corns. Keeping your feet clean and moisturized helps limit dryness and friction, which goes a long way towards preventing painful corns.

Custom orthotics

If you’ve been developing corns regularly, it’s a sign that there’s ongoing friction between your shoes and your feet. By creating pressure on your feet, you create structural issues or biomechanical problems that pressure your feet’ more sensitive areas.

A great way to correct this is with a pair of custom orthotics, which help guide your feet back into the proper pronation with features like a deep heel cup and firm arch support.

Shop for Orthotics That Help Prevent Painful Corns on Your Feet

At Orthotics Direct, we carry various orthotics that can be used in any pair of shoes to offer comfort and relief from corns. Simply order online, then use foam or digital cast to send us your measurements. Once we have those, we’ll custom build a unique pair of orthotics using your precise measurements and ship them to your door within two weeks.

Don’t live with corns for longer than you have to! With custom orthotics made for your needs, you can protect your feet’ health and mobility long-term. 

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