As well-renowned podiatrists, we see a varying array of foot problems every day. Among the most common is “Corns”. These are very simple issues, but if not treated well, can turn sour very quickly. Much like most health issues, it is important to know more about corns and how to identify them, so you can give them the correct treatment.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. This article will answer simple questions like “what’s a corn?” and “Are you likely to get one?”, and even delve into deeper topics like their symptoms and how to treat a corns.
Read on to learn more!
What’s A Corn?
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “what’s a corn?” we’ll clear that doubt up for you.
Corns are usually classified alongside calluses, as they are usually similar in nature. The major difference is that corns tend to be painful in comparison to calluses. Corns and calluses are usually hard buildups of thick skin. They can form pretty much anywhere on your body but are most commonly spotted on your feet, fingers, and hands.
How Are Corns Formed?
Corns and calluses are usually the results of repeated friction, irritation, pressure, or rubbing on the skin. They are usually seen on prominent and bony areas of your body, like your feet and fingers. On the fingers, they form where there is constant friction on the skin. For example, when you hold a pencil or pen and write for a long time.
Corns and calluses tend to be hard as this is your body’s defense to protect the underlying area of skin from constant pressure and irritation.
Here are a few examples of reasons people usually develop corns:
- Deformities in the structure of your feet. E.g. Hammertoes, bunions, and arthritis in feet.
- Wearing socks that bunch up or slip around.
- Not wearing socks with shoes.
- Walking around barefoot on hard surfaces.
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes, especially shoes that tend to be too narrow for your feet. When your shoes are too tight, it creates pressure on your toes from friction. This can lead to the development of corns and calluses. People who tend to wear high-heeled shoes a lot can also develop corns and calluses on the balls of their feet due to the pressure created while moving.
- Staying on your feet for long periods of time, such as running, walking, or standing.
- Activities that tend to put pressure on your feet, especially labor and sports activities.
- Improper posture while walking; can put excess pressure on the outer or inner edge of your feet.
- Activities that cause constant friction on your feet and fingers.
If you do any of the above on a regular basis, you are highly likely to develop corns and calluses.
How Do You Know If You Have A Corn?
Corns are rather distinct, so if you think you may have corn, here are the symptoms to look out for. You can identify corn on your foot if:
- You have a hard bump on your skin, which is surrounded by a dry patch of skin
- You have a tender and raised lump on your skin, that is painful to pressure
Corns are often confused with calluses. The main difference between corns and calluses is that corns are painful, while calluses are normally not painful. Corns have a central core that acts as a pressure point, which is the sensitive part the corn is protecting. So, when pressure is applied, corns tend to hurt.
Are You Likely To Get Corns?
Corns and calluses can affect pretty much anyone. You are more likely to get corn if:
- The bones in your feet are misaligned due to a medical condition. E.g. in the case of bone spurs, hammertoes, bunions, and arthritis in the feet.
- You don’t wear socks with shoes.
- You don’t practice proper foot hygiene, or wear footwear that is not suited to your feet.
- You smoke cigarettes.
How to Treat Corns
Now that you’ve found the answer to the question, “what’s a corn?” and learned a little bit about corns, we can finally give you some insight on how to treat a corns.
If it isn’t infected, here’s how to treat corn at home:
- Soak your feet in warm water to soften the corns
- Use a foot file/pumice stone to gently rub and file away the hardened skin
- Moisturise the area to keep the skin soft
- Make sure to keep the area clean and moisturised, and wear cushioned socks with wide and comfortable shoes to avoid constant friction
It is always best to visit a podiatrist if you are unsure of how to treat corn at home, especially if you have diabetes or any other circulation-related issues. Here’s how a podiatrist can help you:
- We’ll take a look at your corn first to identify it
- We may prescribe antibiotics if it is infected
- To remove the corn, we will slowly and gently cut it away
- We will give you patches to help soften the area for removal
- We can also prescribe you special soft pads to wear with shoes to take the pressure off the area.
You’ll be happy to know that there are a few considerably painless methods a podiatrist will use to treat your corn. Here they are:
- Trimming: Your podiatrist will most likely remove your corn by trimming it down using a tool. You can try doing this at home by soaking your feet for around 20 minutes in order to make the skin soft. Then, go ahead and gently scrape away at the rough skin using a pumice stone.
- Chemical: This type of corn treatment for the foot is similar to trimming, but uses chemical products instead to slowly dissolve the affected skin. A common product used is salicylic acid, which dissolves keratin (what dead skin is made of).
- Toe Protection / Footpads: Though not really a form of treatment, it’s worth mentioning. Using foot pads can help ease the discomfort significantly. You can also use toe splints to prevent your toes from creating friction with each other.
We hope this article helped answer your questions surrounding what corns are and how to treat corns. If you think you have corn, but it isn’t getting better over time, it may be time to visit a Podiatrist. Book an appointment with Bucks Foot Clinic for the best podiatric treatment in town!