Last Modified on Jan 10, 2014
What Is a Corn?
While sometimes an annoying foot ailment, corns are one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Formed to protect sensitive skin, corns usually occur on the tops and sides of the toes. A foot corn is typically a small patch of thick, dead skin; however, soft corns can also form that are thin and between the toes.
A foot corn is a common foot condition and is fairly easy to identify. Common symptoms include a patch of thick, rough skin, a hardened or raised bump on the foot, site tenderness or pain, and unusual skin texture, generally flaky, dry, or waxy. Although often confused with calluses, corns and calluses are not the same. Corns are typically much smaller than calluses. Likewise, corns usually have a firm or hard center that is encircled by inflamed skin. Additionally, corns tend to form on non-weight bearing parts of the feet and are typically painful when pressed.
Relatively speaking, corns are most often caused by everyday activity and repetitive action. The pressure and friction on the feet is commonly what causes a foot corn to develop. Factors that contribute to this friction and pressure include ill-fitting shoes and wearing shoes without socks.
Natural Cures for Corns
While corns are not typically considered a great health concern, they can be very painful, requiring treatment to eradicate the pain. Many individuals have experienced success removing corns naturally using methods such as apple cider vinegar, banana peel, and white potato paste applied to the site. Additional methods include crushed aspirin, duct tape, iodine and lanolin. Proper foot care and hygiene in combination with any of the treatment regimens should offer relief from the current condition and prevent future recurrence. Continue on below for more tips from Earth Clinic readers!
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 04/13/2007: Sondra from Rialto, CA: "I have used ACV to remove corns from my feet..I tried Dr Scholes corn remover,not healthy, can actually eat to bone.I read about ACV for corns and it worked. take a small piece of gauge soak with ACV place it over the corn only, use water proof bandaides and tape it aroun the toes, wear it all day and at night add more ACV. I did my own pedicure every few days, using a pumich stone rub off surface later. I start in the winter so by summer I can wear sandals. BE PATIENT and CONSISTANT."Replies
12/12/2011: Stevie from Sydney, Australia replies: "Did you mean gauze or gauge?"
01/10/2014: Devdutt from Rajkot, India replies: "Hi I just want to know that how long will take to form a corn on the skin... As I had some sharp object in my shoe for 10 days, which I didn't knew, so will you please tell me how long will it take to form a corn? Thanks..."
[YEA] 02/12/2006: Lola from Chicago, IL: "I had a corn on my finger from sewing. I soaked a piece of bread in apple cider vinegar, then taped it to the corn. After doing this twice, the corn disappeared. That was three weeks ago"
Apple Cider Vinegar, Aspirin, White Potato
[YEA] 03/30/2010: Kami from Brooklyn, Ny: "Yea - ACV works. Got a little impatient with the vaseline technique as I need to get scandal ready for vacation. I applied a mixture of ACV, crushed aspirin and white potato juice to my corn then covered with a water proof bandage. I would repeat treatment and replace the bandage every morning (leave on all day) and then each evening (leave on over night). A few times I would give myself a pedicure to rub off the dead skin with a pumice stone. It's only been a few days and the corn is gone. I am now treating with a mixture aloe vera and white potato juice to restore the skin color as the treatment left me with red marks where the corn used to be."Replies
07/06/2011: Ashley from Queens, Ny replies: "i have a question. I tried the Apple Cider Vinegar before and it indeed removed the dead skin. But my skin was really red and raw underneath and the callous on top of my toes eventually formed again, even worse this time. Did your aloe vera treatment work to restore the skin after using the ACV? what was the exact regimen?"
07/12/2011: Kami from Brooklyn, Ny replies: "Hi Ashley,
After the ACV/aspirin technique to remove the corn, I would make a paste of the aloe vera and white potato mix then add a small bit of vaseline. I would apply this to my red area left from the corn and cover with a bandaid. I would do this nightly until the redness disappears.
If your corns are reappearing, you may need to investigate the cause: tight shoes, toes misaligned ... Try foot massages and exercises which stretches your feet like grabbing a towel or objects off the floor with your toes. Toe stretchers are nice too but can be costly. Cover your toes with bandaids or wear socks with shoes if they rub your skin. If you believe your shoes need to be "broken-in" invest in a wooden shoe stretcher or spray them with rubbing alcohol and then stuff them with newspaper.
General skin care is must: drink water, moisturize and take vitamins for hair/skin/nails...
Hope this helps."
[YEA] 10/24/2013: Suziq from Gig Harbor, Wa: "Many, many years ago I had a soft corn between the little and next toe which took something like 6 months of drug treatment through my physician to clear up. Not wanting to go through that again, or even to take prescription medication, I decided to Google the problem and see what I could find. I found the Earth Clinic website and was delighted to see the list of maladies and the natural treatments different people have tried and their results. I was literally at my witt's end with this. My foot was so sore I have skipped the gym this past week, which is a big deal to me, as I go 6 days a week and walk about 4 miles. Going out has been excruciating for me. I just want to stay home and go barefoot. After reading the various posts, I decided to try the banana peel pulp between the toes. I would first soak my foot for about 10-15 minutes in as hot a water as my feet would stand. After drying completely, I would put a small amount of pulp scraped from the inside of the banana peel between the toes, bandage up good, then leave on all day. I would repeat the soak and reapply the banana pulp for over night. The crazy thing is that the first application, I noticed that the pain had almost gone away. Someone else mentioned using lime pulp for pain, but I didn't find that as effective. After 2 days of this, my bandage fell off as I was walking around the house on the third day, and most of the soft corn had already hardened and came out with the bandage. I was truly flabberghasted! There is a little residual tenderness, but the pain is gone. I think I am just going to continue the banana peel treatment at night periodically as I think possibly this may have been caused from gym shoes. Thank you thank you for this website and all the great information!"
[YEA] 01/28/2008: barabara from bundaberg, qld australia: "I developed a soft corn on my toe many years ago and it was exstremely painful. none of the over the counter remedies worked. someone told me that a piece of fresh banana skin taped with the inside of the skin on the soft corn and left in place for a week would kill the virus and the corn would fall off. I did as instructed and one week later when the tape was removed the core of the corn, now black and looking like a cauliflower floret,came away with the banana skin and tape. It left a large hole that healed without a scar and there has never been a recurrence in 22 years. babs"Replies
11/19/2008: Ashley from Durham, NC replies: "So wait, you left the banana peel on your foot for a week, you didn't change it or anything? How did that work out with bathing? I would really like to know. Thanks."
01/17/2009: Kamal from Bhubaneswar, Orissa, INDIA replies: "I should be grateful to Babara for this inexpensive and home treatment. I have a large and very painful corn on my left heel. I had undergone an operation but to almost no effect as the corn reappeared in a few days. I shall try the banana peel now and I think it shall cure me."
[QUESTION] 01/17/2009: Kamal from Bhubaneswar, Orissa, INDIA replies: "Please, specify whether the ripe or unripe banana peel should be applied?"
EC: Ripe may be better... Check the feedback on the banana peel for warts page: http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/bananapeel.html
[QUESTION] 01/17/2009: Joyce from Joelton, Tn replies: "Hello Barbara, My question is did you leave the same piece of banana peel taped in place for one week or did you apply a new piece of banana peel daily? I have a couple of corns I would like to try this one on, but wonder about the ability to keep the same piece in place X one week, especially on the one that is on the bottom of the toe, just barely off the foot."
01/16/2010: Rhonda from Cavendish, Vermont replies: "I am trying this now, I will put a fresh banana peel on everyday...I will wear it a day for a week, I keep you posted!Plus, i will get some potassium from the nanners!"
01/18/2010: Rhonda from Cavendish, Vt replies: "I tried the banana peel for one day, I have also tried a lemon peel for a day. The banana peel took no pain away, turned brown, and shrunk. The lemon peel seemed to take the pain away, shrunk, but stayed in place better. I will continue with the lemon peel...."
01/24/2010: Rhonda from Cavendish, Vermont replies: "the lemon peel is taking the pain away, I don't know yet about if it will cure it. Time will tell, I have been changing it every day"
[YEA] 11/12/2010: Nicole from Byron, Georgia Usa replies: "My daughter had a corn on her toe that had become extremely painful. She is a diabetic and I wanted to try something natural. I am so glad I found this site!! We alternated between a banana peel and lemon peel changing every night before bed. The corn completely fell off last night. This took about two weeks. AMAZING!"
05/01/2012: "If your corn looked like cauliflour with black bits, then I would suggest you had a Plantars Wart not a corn. Glad it worked out for you in any case."
06/13/2012: Brian from Bonne Terre, Mo replies: "I don't know how long it will take for this to work, but I did the lemon peel about 5 minutes ago and it feels like instant relief. At this point I am ready to amputate my left pinky toe so it stops rubbing the other one. If this doesn't work, I still may do that. Let's hope this works."
[YEA] 07/25/2013: Ellen from Tampa, Fl: "Simplest solution I've found is a small piece of duct tape --leave in place for 3 to 4 days. When it's removed, the "corn" will cone off as well."
Infected Corn Remedies
09/23/2013: Tamlovesran from Atlanta, Ga: "I had a corn on my big toe that became infected and is getting worse. Any advice on how to best treat it?"Replies
09/24/2013: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Tamlovesran, try iodine."
09/24/2013: Louwrence from Rustenburg, South Africa replies: "Hi Tamlovesran, Mix magsulfate & glycerine into a paste & put it on the wart with cottonwool & cover it. Firstly ensure that the magsulf( epsom salts) made very fine before you make the paste & add the glycerine very slowly to the magsulf so it is not too sloppy. This mixture will draw out the infection. Maybe the chemist will mix it for you."
[YEA] 03/27/2008: Kyle from Maple Lake, MN: "I've found that lanolin which is found in bag balm or udder cream really helps soften corns and made my calluses less rough. Pretty good stuff."
Liquid Soap Soak, Petroleum Jelly, Pumice Stone
[YEA] 12/30/2007: Hussain from islamabad, Pakistan: "i had corns underneath my foot when i used this remedy for 4 months it worked. first fill a tub with hot water put liquid soap in it that the water turns soapy. then place your foot in the tub for 20-30 min.after that apply a petrolleum jelly on the corn and wear a sock on the foot overnight.then,at morning take off the sock and rub the corn with a pumice stone. be regular."Replies
12/30/2008: Guru from Chennai, Tamil Nadu replies: "Can u clearly explain??"
[YEA] 12/09/2008: Ann from Pune, India: "I had a corn on the sole of my feet just below my toe and it had become really painful for almost six months.People suggested getting it operated which i did try but to my horror the corn reappeared at the same place where the surgeon had applied a stitch.Then my family doc suggested me this medicine which requires one to be patient but works real wonders. It is Kerasol-liquid which is some kind of acid and need to be applied on the corn with a thin cotton layer for around thrice daily. You need to pedicure very often and there will be layers of skin peeling off every 7-10 days. Be patient it works."Replies
12/04/2011: Kelly from Cinti, Oh replies: "***warning*** about using otc's with acid (brand name or not) if you are diabetic. Because of poor circulation the acid can eat hole in your toe. My mom's podiatrist chewed me out for letting her use it (I didn't know she had until it was too late). It took almost a year to get her toe healed, and a medication that cost a whopping $500 dollars/1oz. tube, no that's not a typo--$500 dollars for a little 1 oz. Tube. Thank God she had insurance. This was way before I knew about earthclinic or I would have tried some of the remedies here first. I hope this spares someone alot of excruciating pain ( she told the doc she'd rather a root canal instead of him scraping her toe) and alot of money."
08/12/2013: Tired Of Meds. from Kennesaw, Ga replies: "Please, what is the name of the 1 oz. tube? I have a friend who burnt a hole in her toe using the acid. ( She has insurance)."
06/04/2011: Neil-lee from Cleveland, Uk: "i have suffered from these ailments for over a year now I have used many products from the chemist that has cost me a fortune, can anyone suggest anything to cure these? please advice any help would be grateful."Replies
08/17/2012: Shital from Sunnyvale, Ca, USA replies: "I had a corn on my light leg finger from last 6 months. I did try corn bandage for months but it just spoiled my good skin around the corn. Few days back I observed two moew corns just below my right hand thumb and left hand first finger and I was shocked. Then my mother-in-law started teaching me breathing exercises from yoga (pranayam) and now just after 15 days all the three corns are gone! Breathing exercise removes all impurities from the body and it has worked for me to cure my corns.
All the best for everyone!"
02/16/2013: Geo from Avl, Nc replies: "Corns on the hands are most likely WARTS. Corns are callouses caused by friction. They usually appear on the feet caused by tight shoes. Warts are believed by most to be an immune problen and a HPV (virus) infection that the body is unable to "Handle" for some reason.
It is wonderful that people are getting results w/ both issues using the same remedies.
Anyone thinking of amputation as a remedy should seek qualified psychiatric care."
[YEA] 06/06/2009: sunshine90804 from Long Beach, California: "I used to have what I believe was a corn on the inside of my little toe. My grandmother told me to run my finger around inside my mouth first thing in the morning before I swallowed for the first time, and rub the "spittle" on the corn. I did this several times, and in a relatively short time, (don't remember exactly how long), the corn was gone. I think it was about three weeks to a month. Sounds crazy, but it worked for me, and it never came back. Good Luck! And it costs nothing."
[YEA] 12/14/2009: Kamilee from Brooklyn, Ny: "To get rid of corns, after your bath/shower simply apply vaseline and cover the corns with bandaids. Be patient, it takes a bit of time depending on the size/hardness of the corns... but it works."Replies
07/29/2011: Yaya from Atlanta, Georgia replies: "Do you do this everyday?"