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Corns, Calluses, IPK

Corns and calluses are the most common conditions on the skin of the foot.

A corn, which is a thickening of the outer layer of skin, usually occurs on the tops of the toes.

Calluses, which are the same condition on the bottom of the feet, are caused by sheering pressures.

In severe cases of calluses on the bottom of the foot, an IPK can develop.

Corns and calluses are the foot's defense against friction and pressure. These conditions are usually painful but can respond to conservative care.


The first line of defense for this condition is a good supporting shoe that has a wide toe box and a low heel.

Over-the-counter items such as pads, lotions/creams, pumice stones and callus removers, foot baths, and scrub brushes are also helpful for these conditions. Regular use of a paraffin bath also helps reduce callus build-up.

Other useful treatments for corns and calluses are orthotics, a device to realign the mechanical disturbance of the foot. Although you can purchase orthotics over-the-counter, this device is usually made from a cast of the foot and is prescribed by a Podiatrist.

If corns and calluses persist then professional treatment by a podiatrist and/or an orthopedist who is trained in these areas is indicated. A severe form of callus is considered an IPK (Intractable Plantar Keratosis)and may need surgery.

Usually a doctor will obtain x-rays to ascertain whether or not there is an underlining bone spur. If the condition is painful enough and non-responsive to topical medications and debridement, then surgical correction is indicated.

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