Understanding Corns: The Basics

Corns are a common foot condition that your body forms to protect the sensitive skin on the top and sides of your toes. There are different varieties of corns, and in many instances they are preventable. Corns can be treated by a podiatrist, who will perform a thorough examination to determine the cause before recommending an individualized treatment plan.

Types of Corns

            •           Hard corns: a small patch of hard, dead skin with a densely packed centre. It will appear thicker than the surrounding skin. Hard corns are found on top of a toe or on the outside of the little toe.

            •           Soft corns are red, thinner in appearance, and tender to the touch, with a smooth centre. They are found between toes (usually the fourth and fifth ones).

            •           Seed corns look like small plugs of dead skin and can be quite painful. This type of corn is found on either the heel or ball of the foot.

What Causes Corns

In some cases, corns can be caused by an improper gait. In most cases, however, corns are caused by wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.

Wearing high heels will increase the likelihood of developing corns. This style of footwear makes the foot slide forward in the shoe and puts pressure on the toes. For this reason, women are much more likely than men to have foot issues. Other risk factors which can contribute to developing corns are wearing shoes or sandals without socks, which leads to friction on the feet, and foot deformities.

Treatment for Corns

When corns cause discomfort, the podiatrist can trim them so that the feet more comfortable. If the corn is due to a problem with gait, a special insole that fits in a patient’s shoe may need to be prescribed.

People with diabetes should consult a podiatrist as soon as a corn develops, since they have poor circulation in their feet and are at risk for more severe medical issues if they neglect their foot care. If a corn shows signs of infection, such as pain, redness, swelling or if there is discharge (pus or clear), it should also be checked by a podiatrist immediately. Antibiotics may need to be prescribed; if pus is present, the corn may need to be drained.

If you are concerned about corns or any other aspect of your foot health, contact Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M. by filling out an online appointment request form