How to Safely Remove a Foot Corn at Home

January 28, 2021 2:40 pm Published by

If you have a foot corn or corns on your feet, you know how painful they can be. These hardened bumps resemble the size of kernels of corn, for which they’re so appropriately named, and whether they’re on the top of your feet, between your toes or on the pads of your feet, they quite painfully rub inside your shoe. 

Many sufferers have tried padding the area with no luck, knowing that after removing the pads, the irritating bumps are still there. Fortunately, they can often be safely and effectively removed right at home. 

Here are some tips for treating and removing your foot corns in just a few days:

Soften the Corn

The first step in removing a corn is softening the toughened, thick bump of dead skin. This makes it much easier for the raised skin to come off with the help of skin files or to fall off on its own.

Soak your foot in warm water.

Fill your tub or a small foot bath with warm (not hot) water. Some like to use calming Epsom salts with oils or perfumes that help to relax or soften your skin. After a 10-minute soak, your corn should be a little softer and primed for gentle filling, however, people with tougher, larger corns may choose to do daily 10-minute soaks for a few days to gradually soften the bump.

Apply scent-free lotion.

Lotions are also a smart way to soften your corn, providing it with nourishing moisture. This is important, as corns are dried accumulations of dead skin. Apply a scent-free lotion post-shower or bath daily until the corn can be gently filed off.

Use vitamin E oil. 

Vitamin E is a helpful vitamin for your skin and hair, and a known natural treatment for foot corns. That’s because the properties of this vitamin help to soften and moisturize skin, while the antioxidants can help this foot irritation to properly heal. 

Purchase dietary vitamin E capsules and carefully break the capsule. Using a Q-tip, rub the oil on your corn before bed. Alternatively, you could also buy a vial of vitamin E oil, which you can use to moisturize your skin long after the corn is removed. After applying on the corn, slip on socks and sleep overnight, repeating every evening until the corn disappears or becomes soft enough to safely file off.

File the Corn

Once your corn is softened, it can be carefully filed down using a pumice stone or emery board (nail file). After a 10-minute warm water soak or gentle soap and water wipe, lightly file your corn. Oftentimes pumice stones are best for corns on the bottom pads of the feet or on the top of sides of toes. We recommend using a fingernail file for corns in between the toes. 

When filing, be sure to only use gentle pressure. Aggressive filing can actually cause microabrasions in your skin which are susceptible to fungus and bacteria— leading to infection. Plus, removing too many layers of skin can cause an open wound, which could rub open and get worse with walking or activity. 

Other Home, Natural Corn Removal Remedies

Instead of filing, some foot corn sufferers opt to try natural remedies like lemon juice, onion juice, garlic, or other home-accessible treatment options. Learn more about these home corn remedies here. 

Pad the Corn

If you choose not to or have trouble removing a corn, you may find relief in padding the area with soft inserts. By wrapping or covering the bump before wearing shoes, you can prevent painful rubbing and pressure so the corn can heal. 

There are various corn pad options, including toe sleeves made from gel materials, corn cushions that go around the bump (which are especially for top of feet corns), and more.

Try Over-the-Counter Options

If at home corn removal or relief treatments just aren’t working, you might want to stop by your local pharmacy to try an over-the-counter product. 

Salicylic Acid Pads

While putting acid on your feet may sound intimidating, The Journal of Foot and Ankle Research found that salicylic acid products helped to break down the skin cells collected in corn bumps, allowing the patients to feel less pain and reducing corn size compared with simply shaving the corn away at a podiatrist’s office.

You may be surprised to learn that many exfoliating scrubs and products use salicylic acid in them already. You can find corn remover pads by your pharmacy’s foot care section, which are simply placed over a corn for 48 hours or as instructed on the label. 

These products are sometimes not the best option for those with sensitive skin, as some show visible signs of redness or burning from the acid pads— a clear sign to stop use. Should salicylic acid be an irritant, The American Academy of Dermatology also notes that urea or ammonium lactate can help to gradually soften foot corns. 

Medicated Lotions

While corn removal pads contain high concentrations of salicylic acid, ammonium lactate or urea, mixing them in over-the-counter lotions can reduce their potency and the associated negative side effect of acid burn. 

These medicated lotions can be applied daily on the corn to slowly break it down, while still nourishing the skin. Amlactin is a great fragrance-free example, using ammonium lactate.

Professional Corn Removal & Counseling 

If you’ve tried any of the following at-home foot corn removal techniques and still can’t seem to get rid of it, our recommendation would be to consult a podiatrist. These trained professionals can help to remove as much dead skin as possible and properly bandage the area to heal.

It’s rare that surgery is needed, but if a corn is pressing directly on a nerve in the foot,  it’s sometimes necessary.

One of the main reasons that corns will not go away or reappear after treatment is because of improperly-fitting footwear or other foot conditions, such as hammertoes or bunions, which cause excessive rubbing in your shoes. A podiatrist can also recommend proper footwear to prevent future irritation, or get you set up with custom orthotics for relief with a pre-existing condition.

Come in for Corn Removal

Corns often are confused with other foot ailments like blisters and warts, which is why it’s important to be properly diagnosed if home treatments are failing.

Make an appointment to have your bump checked out and professionally removed, quickly and painlessly. Explore our Corns & Calluses services page or call 239.936.5400, today.

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Welcome, Dr. Elaine Felix!


Dr. Felix has extensive training in treating all aspects of the foot and ankle including arthroscopy, sports injuries, trauma, reconstructive surgery, wound care, as well as forefoot and mid-foot surgery.
We are so excited to have her join our team!
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