If you’ve ever found yourself asking, “what’s a corn?” or wondering how to treat a corn, this blog is for you.
In this blog we’ll highlight all the important details you need to know about corns and how to treat corns. Keep reading to learn more.
What’s A Corn?
Corns are buildups of hardened areas of skin. They can form anywhere, but tend to show up on feet, hands, and fingers the most. They are usually round and relatively small, and you’ll most likely see them develop on the sides and tops of your toes. There are three distinct types of corns:
- Hard Corns: These are hard and dense, and usually form on the top of your toes, where your bones exert pressure on your skin. They usually reside within a bigger part of thickened skin.
- Soft Corns: Usually whitish grey in colour, with a slightly softer and rubbery texture, soft corns show up between your toes.
- Seed Corns: As the name suggests, seed corns are quite small. They normally form at the bottom of your feet.
Corns usually develop due to constant rubbing, friction, pressure, and irritation against the skin. This is why you will most likely see them appear on the bony part of your feet. This hardening layer is actually your body’s defence to protect the softer skin underneath from the pressure.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Corn?
Now that you know what a corn is, you’ll be easily able to identify it. You can identify a 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 and verrucas (more on that later!). 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.
Am I Susceptible To Corns?
You’re more likely to develop a corn if:
- You have a medical condition that changes the alignment of the bones in your feet. Ex. arthritis, hammertoes, bunions, bone spurs.
- You don’t wear socks
- Your shoes are too narrow for your feet
If you check yes on any of the above, you run the risk of developing corns on your feet.
Are They Painful?
You’re probably wondering if corns are painful. The answer is both yes and no. When you first develop a corn, it won’t cause you pain at all. But, as the corn further develops and the skin thickens more, it can start causing pain. The areas of your skin that are raised will become sensitive to pressure and tender to touch compared to the unaffected skin surrounding it. Corns can even get infected, and that can lead to significant amounts of pain. This is why it’s always best to see a podiatrist so they can give you corn treatment for your feet so that the issue doesn’t get worse.
How Can I Prevent Corns?
As with all things, prevention is always better than cure. Feet are often overlooked, but they’re very integral to your overall health since they make the most contact with the ground. In order to prevent corns from developing on your feet, you should keep the following in mind:
- Always wear shoes that fit you well and are comfortable. Your shoes must support your feet but also be cushioned and have shock absorbing soles. Your feet should never feel cramped in your shoes, and there must always be ample space for your toes so they aren;t rubbing against the shoes or eachother.
- Try to avoid narrow toed and high heeled shoes as far as you can.
- Use insoles that are cushioned.
- Wear socks with your shoes.
- Inspect your feet regularly and practice proper foot care and hygiene.
- Always keep your toenails trimmed.
- Try not to walk barefoot.
- Try keeping your feet as dry as you can. Use foot powder if you’re prone to sweaty feet
How To Treat A Corn
If you’re past the stage of prevention and now need to know how to treat a corn…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 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 footpads can help ease the discomfort significantly. You can also use toe splints to prevent your toes from creating friction with each other.
A recommended at-home treatment is as follows:
- Soak the corn in warm water, for 5-10 minutes till the skin softens
- File the corn with a pumice stone. First, dip the stone in warm water then use it very gently against your corn. Make sure to use it in circular motions or sideways motions. This will remove the dead skin
- Don’t file it too much and take off too much skin, this can lead to bleeding and infections
- Use moisturizer/lotion on the area daily. Preferably one with salicylic acid, urea, or ammonium lactate.
- Use a piece of moleskin as padding. Cut the moleskin into two half-moon shapes and place it around the corn. To prevent your corn from constant shoe-contact, use a doughnut-shaped adhesive pad to protect it.
- Always wear shoes that fit you right.
- Keep your toenails trimmed.