Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Fortnightly Review: Callosities, corns, and calluses

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 01 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1403
  1. Dishan Singh, senior lecturera,
  2. George Bentley, professora,
  3. Saul G Trevino, associate professorb
  1. a Institute of Orthopaedics, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4LP
  2. b Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Mr Singh.


    Summary points

    • Corns and calluses arise from hyperkeratosis, a normal physiological response to chronic excessive pressure or friction on the skin

    • They may be caused by excessive irritation from poorly fitting shoes or by abnormal pressure if there is a deformity of the foot

    • Treatment should therefore not only provide symptomatic relief (such as by regular paring or using keratolytic agents) but should also alleviate the underlying mechanical cause

    • Most lesions can be managed conservatively by use of sensible footwear (properly fitting shoes with low heels, soft upper, and roomy toebox) and orthoses to redistribute mechanical forces

    • Surgery is rarely indicated and should be specifi- cally aimed at correcting the abnormal mechanical stresses

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