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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ndidi Ufondu, DPM

All you need to know about Corns

Corns are small, hard lumps of skin that form on the feet or toes as a result of pressure or friction. They can be painful and uncomfortable, but they are generally not a serious condition. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about corns, including their causes, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention methods.


Surya Prakash.S.A., CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

What are Corns?

Corns are small, hard lumps of skin that form on the feet or toes. They are similar to calluses, but they are usually harder, smaller, and more painful. Corns develop as a result of pressure or friction on the skin. When the skin is subjected to excessive pressure or rubbing, it thickens and forms a corn as a protective response.

There are three main types of corns: hard corns, soft corns, and seed corns. Hard corns are the most common type of corn and appear as small areas of concentrated hard skin within a wider area of thickened skin. Soft corns are whitish or gray in color and have a rubbery texture. They often appear between the toes where the skin is moist from sweat or inadequate drying. Seed corns are tiny corns that tend to occur either singly or in clusters on the bottom of the foot.


Causes of Corns


Corns are caused by pressure or friction on the skin. Some common causes of corns include:

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes: Tight shoes and high heels can squeeze areas of the feet and cause excessive pressure. If shoes are too loose, the foot may repeatedly slide and rub against the shoe, creating friction.

  • Skipping socks: Wearing shoes without socks can cause friction on the feet.

  • Toe deformities: People with certain deformities of the foot, such as hammer toes or bunions, are more prone to developing corns.

  • Inheriting a tendency to develop corns: Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing corns.

Symptoms of Corns


Corns typically have a rough, dull appearance. They may be raised or rounded and can be hard to differentiate from warts. Common symptoms of corns include:

  • A thick, rough area of skin

  • A hardened, raised bump

  • Tenderness or pain under the skin

  • Flaky, dry or waxy skin

Corns can also cause pain when walking or wearing shoes. If you have a corn that is causing pain or discomfort, it is important to seek treatment.


Treatment for Corns


Mild corns may not require treatment. However, if a corn is causing pain or discomfort, there are several treatment options available. These include:

  • Trimming away excess skin: A podiatrist can carefully shave away the thickened skin using a scalpel. This procedure should only be done by a professional.

  • Medicated patches: Patches containing salicylic acid can help to soften and remove the hard skin.

  • Shoe inserts: Custom-made padded shoe inserts can help to relieve pressure and prevent recurring corns.

It is important to note that people with diabetes or poor circulation should not attempt to self-treat corns. Instead, they should seek professional medical advice.


Prevention of Corns


The best way to prevent corns is to eliminate the conditions that cause them. Here are some tips for preventing corns:

  • Wear properly fitting shoes: Choose shoes that fit well and provide enough room for your toes.

  • Wear socks: Wearing socks can help to prevent friction on your feet.

  • Trim your toenails: Long toenails can force your toes to push up against your shoe, creating pressure that can cause a corn to form.

  • Use protective pads: Donut-shaped foam pads can help to protect against excess pressure or friction around your corn.

By following these tips, you can help to prevent the development of new corns.


Key Takeaways


In summary, here are some key takeaways about corns:

  • Corns are small, hard lumps of skin that form on the feet or toes as a result of pressure or friction.

  • There are three main types of corns: hard corns, soft corns, and seed corns.

  • Common causes of corns include wearing ill-fitting shoes, skipping socks, toe deformities, and inheriting a tendency to develop corns.

  • Treatment options for painful or uncomfortable corns include trimming away excess skin, using medicated patches, wearing shoe inserts, and surgery.

  • The best way to prevent new corns from forming is by wearing properly fitting shoes and socks, trimming your toenails regularly, using protective pads and taking other preventative measures.


FAQs

Q: Are corns contagious? A: No, corns are not contagious. They develop as a result of pressure or friction on the skin.

Q: Can corns be cured? A: Yes, corns can be treated and cured. Treatment options include trimming away excess skin, using medicated patches and wearing shoe inserts.

Q: Can I cut off a corn myself? A: No, you should never attempt to cut off a corn yourself. This can lead to infection and other complications. It is important to seek professional medical advice for the treatment of corns.

Q: Are there any home remedies for corns? A: Yes, there are several home remedies that can help to soften and remove corns. These include soaking your feet in warm water, using a pumice stone or foot file to remove hard skin, and applying moisturizer to help keep the skin soft.


We hope this article has provided you with valuable information about corns. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic for more information.

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