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Managing hard skin

Woman washing hands with antiseptic disinfectant. Beautiful drop of liquid antiseptic falling to the hand palm

Written By

Shaheen Aumeer-Donovan
Philip Aumeer-Donovan

See bottom of page for author information

Posted 1st May 2023

As featured in the Mulgoa Valley District Gazette

Callus and corns are the main types of hard skin we treat.


When a persistent pressure or friction is applied to your skin, the body’s normal response is often to thicken (form callus) to protect it. If left to build up, the hard skin can become painful or crack. There are some genetic conditions that lead to excessive amounts of callus, eg. palmoplantar keratoderma.


When the pressure on the skin is very high, the callus becomes dense and a localised lesion (corn) forms. Soft corns can occur between your toes and are acutely painful.

What can you do?*

1. Reduce pressure

Identifying the source of pressure (eg. tight footwear, certain activities, toe deformities) and reducing it is the best way to manage callus and corns.

2. Moisturise

Certain creams such as urea-containing heel balm can help soften callus and improve skin quality.

3. Nix the corn pads

These can be unsafe and can result in infections in certain patients, particularly those with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease.

4. Pumice stones

Regularly soaking feet and rubbing off hard skin with a pumice stone is a great way to self-manage hard skin. Beware of salons with shared equipment and poor sterilisation procedures (using boiling water isn’t enough!) as the risk of infection is high.

5. See your podiatrist

Podiatrists can easily remove callus and corns using a scalpel. They are highly skilled in removing a safe amount of callus, as well as identifying and treating other issues such as blood within the callus, wart viruses or ulceration.

Treatment can provide immediate relief, however, this might be temporary if the cause of the pressure is not addressed. Your podiatrist can assess your foot shape, biomechanics, footwear and skin conditions. Footwear changes, offloading the area with padding, custom-made silicone devices and foot orthoses are often used to reduce pressure and corn formation.

In some cases, referral on to a podiatric surgeon can be made if it is found that the underlying cause is a bone or toe deformity and is not responding to conservative care.

* For general information only – a healthcare professional must be seen for tailored advice

If you have any questions, please give us a call, email us, or send us a message – we’ll be happy to chat with you to discuss your needs.

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Shaheen Aumeer-Donovan

Shaheen is our Practice Manager. She works hard behind the scenes to ensure that the clinics run smoothly, best practices are being followed, and the staff have everything they need to look after the Repairs Afoot family. While a stickler for the paperwork, she’s also a little quirky and loves using her creativity to find new ways to encourage people to look after their feet.

Philip Aumeer-Donovan

Philip is our esteemed Clinical Manager and resident foot-whisperer. He has over 21 years of experience as a podiatrist and has been mentoring new graduates in the profession for over 12 years. He hasn’t met a sore foot he didn’t want to treat, which is why he has strived to build a clinic that can help patients with any kind of foot issue, and is committed to continuing education to ensure he is up-to-date with any new developments that could be beneficial for his patients. It is also why he is believes strongly in sharing his knowledge with the wider community.