Hello there, I’m Dr. Leena Lakhani, a podiatrist at Bucksfoot Clinic, and I’m here to shed light on an issue that plagues many individuals in the UK – corns on the feet.
According to recent data, over 50% of adults experience foot pain, with corns being a common contributor.
Corns might seem like a minor problem, but they can be quite painful and affect your quality of life. In this blog, I’ll provide you with essential information about what corns are, what causes them, who’s most susceptible, the different types of corns, and, most importantly, how a podiatrist can help you find relief.
Corns are small, thickened areas of skin that develop on the feet, typically on the toes or the soles. They result from excessive pressure or friction over an extended period. These localized areas of hardened skin can cause discomfort, tenderness, and even pain, making everyday activities like walking a challenge. It’s essential to address corns promptly to prevent them from becoming more painful or leading to complications.
What Causes Corns?
Corns are primarily caused by two factors: pressure and friction. Let’s break it down:
- Pressure: When excessive pressure is exerted on certain areas of your feet, the skin responds by thickening to protect itself. This is the body’s way of defending against irritation or injury.
- Friction: Friction occurs when your skin rubs against a surface or other parts of your foot. Over time, this continuous rubbing can lead to the development of corns. The most common sources of friction are tight-fitting shoes, high heels, or ill-fitting footwear.
Who is Susceptible to Corns?
Corns can affect anyone, but some individuals are more susceptible than others. This includes people who:
- Wear tight or poorly fitting shoes: High heels, pointy-toed shoes, and shoes that are too tight can increase the risk of developing corns.
- Have foot deformities: Conditions like bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet can alter the distribution of pressure on the feet, leading to corn formation.
- Engage in high-impact activities: Runners, hikers, and athletes who place significant stress on their feet are more likely to develop corns.
Different Types of Corns
There are two primary types of corns:
- Hard Corns (Heloma Durum): These are the most common type of corn and are typically found on the tops or sides of the toes. Hard corns have a dense, cone-shaped core and a hardened, raised surface. They can be particularly painful when pressure is applied.
- Soft Corns (Heloma Molle): Soft corns are often found between the toes, where sweat and moisture accumulate. They have a softer, rubbery texture and can become sore due to the constant moisture between the toes.
How Can a Podiatrist Help?
Now, let’s address the most crucial part – corn foot treatment. When it comes to corns on your feet, a podiatrist is your best ally. Here are some of the ways we can help:
- Professional Assessment: A podiatrist will conduct a thorough examination of your feet, assessing the corn’s size, type, and cause. This is the first step in creating a tailored treatment plan.
- Custom Orthotics: Podiatrists can design custom orthotic devices or recommend appropriate cushioning to alleviate pressure on the corn and provide support for your feet. These orthotics are specially designed to fit your unique foot shape and walking pattern.
- Footwear Advice: We will provide guidance on choosing footwear that is comfortable, properly fitting, and reduces friction and pressure on the affected area.
- Caring for Corns: For existing corns, a podiatrist can carefully trim and reduce the thickness of the corn using specialized instruments, ensuring that it doesn’t return.
- Preventive Measures: We’ll educate you on how to prevent the recurrence of corns by addressing their underlying causes. This includes recommendations for shoe choices, foot hygiene, and foot exercises.
Corn On Foot Treatment
Corns can be painful and bothersome, and while there are over-the-counter treatments available, it’s often best to have them removed by a podiatrist, especially if they are causing significant discomfort or are recurring. Here’s how podiatrists typically remove corns:
- Debridement: Debridement is the most common method of corn removal. It involves the careful trimming of the thickened, dead skin that makes up the corn. Podiatrists use specialized instruments to do this, ensuring that the healthy surrounding skin is not affected. This procedure is generally painless and provides immediate relief.
- Shaving: In some cases, particularly for larger or more stubborn corns, a podiatrist may use a small, rotating tool to shave away the dead skin. This method is effective for reducing the size of the corn and relieving pressure.
- Salicylic Acid: Podiatrists may also use a stronger, prescription-grade salicylic acid solution to soften and eventually dissolve the corn. This method is particularly useful for larger corns or corns with a deep core. It usually requires several applications over a period of time.
It’s important to note that attempting to remove a corn at home, especially with sharp instruments, can lead to infection or more significant damage. Podiatrists are trained professionals with the knowledge and tools to safely and effectively remove corns while addressing the root causes to prevent them from coming back. If you’re experiencing discomfort due to corns, seeking professional help from a podiatrist is the best course of action.
Corn Removal Surgery: When It’s Necessary
While most corns can be effectively treated through non-surgical methods, there are instances where corn removal surgery becomes necessary. This procedure is typically reserved for severe cases or when other treatments have proven ineffective. Here’s what you should know about corn removal surgery:
Indications for Surgery:
- Deep-Seated Corns: Corns that have grown deep into the layers of the skin, making them challenging to remove with conservative methods, may require surgical intervention.
- Recurring Corns: If corns keep coming back despite attempts to remove them and prevent their recurrence, surgery may be considered to address the underlying structural issues.
- Biomechanical Problems: Corns that result from structural foot deformities, such as bunions or hammertoes, may require surgery to correct the underlying issue and prevent further corn development.
The Surgical Procedure:
- Local Anesthesia: Corn removal surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia. This numbs the area, ensuring you won’t feel any pain during the procedure.
- Corn Removal: The podiatrist carefully cuts away the corn and the underlying tissue that causes the pressure and friction. This is done precisely to minimize any damage to healthy surrounding skin.
- Tissue Repair: After the corn is removed, the podiatrist may need to repair any tissue damage or correct structural issues that contributed to the corn’s formation.
- Closure: Once the necessary corrections are made, the incision is closed with sutures. In some cases, absorbable sutures may be used, eliminating the need for suture removal.
Recovery and Follow-up:
- Recovery Time: Recovery from corn removal surgery is typically straightforward and relatively quick. You can expect to resume normal activities within a few days to a week.
- Foot Care: Following the procedure, you’ll receive guidance on post-operative care. This may include keeping the area clean, applying prescribed medications, and protecting the surgical site.
- Prevention: Your podiatrist will also discuss ways to prevent the recurrence of corns, such as appropriate footwear choices and orthotic devices if structural issues were a contributing factor.
It’s essential to note that corn removal surgery is typically considered a last resort when other treatments have failed or when there are structural issues contributing to corn formation. Podiatrists will always explore non-surgical options first, aiming to provide effective relief while preserving the health of your feet.
Say goodbye to foot pain
Corns on the feet might seem like a minor issue, but they can significantly impact your daily life. If you’re dealing with corns, seeking help from a podiatrist is a wise choice.
At Bucksfoot Clinic, we have the expertise to diagnose, treat, and provide you with the guidance you need to prevent corns from coming back. Don’t let foot pain hold you back – take the first step toward healthier, pain-free feet by reaching out to us today.
Corns typically develop as a natural response to excessive pressure or friction on the skin. Common causes include ill-fitting or tight shoes, high heels, foot deformities like bunions or hammertoes, and abnormal gait patterns. The pressure and friction stimulate the skin to thicken and create a protective barrier, which forms the corn.
To get rid of a corn on your foot, you can start by changing your footwear to reduce friction and pressure. Over-the-counter treatments like corn plasters may help. However, for effective and lasting relief, it’s best to consult a podiatrist. They can provide professional treatment, which may include debridement, salicylic acid applications, custom orthotics, and footwear advice.
Podiatrists treat corns by first assessing the corn’s type, size, and underlying causes. Common treatments include debridement (trimming the corn), the use of salicylic acid preparations, custom orthotics to alleviate pressure, and footwear advice. The specific treatment plan will depend on the individual case.
Corn plasters, available over-the-counter, may help soften and gradually remove corns by using salicylic acid. They can be effective for smaller, less severe corns. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and consult a podiatrist if you have concerns or if the corn doesn’t respond to this treatment.
Removing a corn using professional methods like debridement should not leave a hole. A podiatrist will carefully trim the corn and the hardened skin around it. The goal is to relieve discomfort without causing significant damage to the healthy surrounding skin.
The duration of a corn on the foot can vary. With proper treatment and management, you can often expect relief from a corn in a matter of weeks. However, the time it takes to resolve a corn depends on its size, type, underlying causes, and how well you adhere to treatment and prevention strategies. It’s important to address corns promptly to prevent them from becoming more painful or recurrent.