How to Get Rid of Foot Calluses (with Photos), According to Doctors
There are two main ways to remove foot calluses. One is to scrub the callus off after soaking the affected area.
The other way is to apply baking soda, salicylic acid and other chemicals. This can get rid of corns and calluses without exfoliation.
Hi! I’m Dr. Karim Maghraby. I’m a medical doctor and physician scientist (M.D., M.Sc.). I spent hours researching foot calluses and their removal to write this article. I hope you find it useful.
Below, I’ll cover how to get rid of foot calluses. I’ll explain how you can soften and remove foot corns. I’ll also discuss a little-known way to remove calluses slowly and without exfoliating them.
Last but not least, I’ll explain when you need to see a foot specialist to get help for your callus.
Disclaimer: This guide was created for educational purposes. It neither offers nor replaces medical advice. Learn more here.
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Table of Contents
The Fast Way to Get Rid of Calluses
Step 1 - Soak your feet
To get rid of calluses, start by soaking your feet for 20 minutes. This will soften the up and make it easier to remove. It’ll also prevent tears and other foot problems (1,3,4).
If you want to get the most out of your foot bath, you can add the following before submerging your feet:
- . helps separate layers of . Some calluses will come right off after a warm vinegar bath. Mixed one part vinegar to four parts of .
- . Mixing 5 tablespoons of in a bath. It will hydrate the and make the easier to remove using or file.
- . Most people don’t know this, but bath. isn’t just a muscle relaxant. It acts as an exfoliant too, removing layers of . This makes the easier to remove completely afterwards. As with vinegar, smaller calluses sometimes come off after a good
- or . Teat tree oil has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. Add a little to fresh works too. before a foot bath to prevent infection and accelerate healing. Be mindful to not soak your feet too long, as is strong and can irritate the . If tea trea oil is unavailable,
Step 2 - Remove the callus
Now that we’ve softened the feet up, it’s time to remove the . There are a few different ways to do this. The first way is…
is good for dry, . Be careful when using it A large-grain can pull at a instead of exfoliating it. This can tear skin and lead to new .
Foot files come in all sorts. Some are metal. Others use a sandpaper surface. A third category is electric; this is what podologists use.
A small-grain sandpaper-type foot file is best for most people. If you can get a good electric one, that’s also good.
A nail file is another way to work on calluses, especially thick ones. They’re a fast, precise way to get rid of a or .
Whichever you go with…
1. Remove one callus layer at a time. If a has more than 2 layers, do not try to remove all of them in one sitting.
2. Use gentle, circular motions. NEVER use excessive force. You might tear the callus right off, which you don’t want.
Step 3 - Treat the affected area
We’ve now removed some or all of our . But that doesn’t mean our work is done just yet. We want to treat the to keep the soft and moisturized. This will prevent future . It will also and stop them from hardening further.
Take some , shea butter or . Gently massage it into the . Try to do this daily for the next few days. This will stop the in the from hardening again. It will also help the area heal faster. If you haven’t removed the completely, you’ll be able to continue removing it faster this way.
Step 4 - Prevent the formation of new calluses
To prevent new corns and calluses from forming, keep your moisturized. Apply , shae butter or a quality cream that contains either regularly.
If you see or calluses, get some . Apply it three times a day using a soft or pad. helps dissolve keratin in over calluses and stops them from growing. If a is just starting to form, applying the acid will reverse its growth.
The Easy Way to Get Rid of Foot Calluses
Step 1 - Get baking soda or salicylic acid
Liquid salicylic acid is a powerful . So is .
If you’re using , take a few tablespoons and mix with enough water to form a paste. Add a drop of or fresh-squeezed lime juice.
If you’re using salicylic acid, use a weak solution. 1-2% is plenty strong.
Step 2 - Apply to affected area
Apply your paste or acid to the affected area. You can use clean hands or, for salicylic acid, a cotton pad.
Step 3 - Cover with sock
Now cover the treated foot with a wool or cotton sock. Leave the sock on a few hours.
This method works best when you can leave the sock overnight, letting the soda/acid work into the for hours.
How to Get Rid of Foot Corns
You can use the callus removal methods above to get rid of foot corns.
You could also try the following. They don’t involve exfoliation and will get rid of most corns.
Some creams exfoliate the feet by removing layers of . I’ve seen some very popular Korean and US-made ones. You leave them on your feet for 15-20 minutes, then remove them. then come off on their own, usually over the next 12-48 hours.
These products are a good way to remove foot corns. They can also remove the top layers of a . The important thing is not to exfoliate mechanically after using an exfoliating cream first.
with urea or ammonia lactate
Urea and both soften the . They can quickly moisturize a dry , cracked foot , etc. They’re also good for reducing corns and smaller calluses. When used on , they can result in pain reduction.
Many treatment guides suggest applying . The truth is, it doesn’t matter which specific oil type you use. , , shea butter – these all soften the and stop it from hardening.
For a simple fix, apply to the , then cover with a thick . This helps with all kinds of conditions, and will quickly stop a from hardening.
When Not to Remove Foot Calluses
If a is growing over a cyst or wart (e.g. a ), don’t try to get rid of it. These are not your usual pressure-induced calluses. They require special treatment and precautions from a medical professional (1).
Don’t try to treat a if you suffer from a peripheral artery or nerve disease (such as Diabetes). You have a much higher risk of injury or infection and should see a doctor (4).
Do not treat your own calluses if they are infected. If you feel pain when treating a or , stop immediately. Contact a doctor before proceeding.
Last but not least, do not attempt to treat your calluses if you have brittle, weak or . The same applies to bony, rigid protrusions or misaligned bones (2,3).
How do Calluses Form?
happens when is exposed to or pressure. This prompts the body to respond by increasing the thickness of the over the . The end result is an irregular patch of . This protects you against pressure but can painful and fragile.
Calluses can also form because of other medical conditions. For example, can make you shift your weight to the same part of the repeatedly. This can cause in that area to harden.
Where do calluses usually form?
Calluses are usually found under the ball of the foot and under the . are less common but still common.
Are calluses dangerous?
Calluses aren’t necessarily unhealthy or dangerous. They mean your body is working as intended; thickening in areas that need protection from friction and pressure.
Having said that, a mistreated can get infected and lead to complications. In that sense, it can be dangerous.
There are two main ways to remove a callus. One is to soak the area, then exfoliate it. The other is to use baking soda and salicylic acid to slowly get rid of the callus.
Foot corns are easier to get rid of. A lot of the time, keeping them moisturized with olive, argan or coconut oil is enough.