A corn is a very thick and flaky growth that forms on skin as a result of chafing and pressure. Corns can be painful to the touch and limit daily activities. Corns often appear between the toes or the soles of the feet.

What You Need To Know About Corns

What Are Corns?

A corn is a hardened, callused growth typically found on the foot that has taken root to the deeper levels of the skin. This growth is a byproduct of the body's defense system against friction and repeated pressure. Corns can lead to discomfort when walking and can severely degrade the quality of life for a patient.

Corns typically occur in hairless areas of pressure on the toes or the ball of the foot. Examples include the pressure from a shoe on the top of the toes or the pressure between the toes. There are several types of corns, including hard corns, soft corns, and seed corns. Corns often push against sensitive nerve endings, causing extreme pain.

Hard corns have a thicker, waxy appearance and are found on the top of the toes or the ball of the foot. Soft corns are between the toes and remain softer due to the increased moisture between the toes. Both types can be painful, particularly with shoe wear. Seed corns develop on the ball of the feet, and can cause lots of pain.

Getting the right corn treatment starts with a visit to the Foot And Ankle Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics. Schedule an appointment now!

What Causes Corns To Develop?

There is no single cause of corns. Corns appear as a result of pressure and friction. Some common sources of pressure and friction include:

  • Tight-fitting shoes may squeeze the toes bones together and rub on top of the toes.

  • Loose shoes may cause the foot to slide within the shoe and lead to rubbing and increased friction.

  • High heel shoes tend to be narrow, squeezing the toes while also putting excessive pressure on the ball of the foot leading to corns under the metatarsal bones.

  • Wearing closed-toed shoes without socks puts increased pressure on the bones of the foot without the sock for cushion as well as increased moisture between toes.

  • Toe deformities can cause increased rubbing at the apex of the deformity, typically the knuckle on the top of the toe in hammer toes or between the toes in curly toes.

Corns Symptoms

People with corns often feel like they are walking on small pebbles. Some symptoms of corns include:

  • Areas of hardened skin

  • Round, small bumps emerging from hardened skin patches

  • Loss of touch sensitivity

  • Redness, blisters, pain

  • Raised area of discomfort

Corns are similar to callouses but usually appear in areas that aren't weight-bearing. Unlike calluses, corns are usually painful to the touch. Always seek medical advice when a corn becomes painful. Patients with fragile skin, nerve problems, diabetes, or difficulty with circulation may have additional issues.

How Are Corns Diagnosed?

Only a medical professional can diagnose corns. During your appointment to the Resurgens Foot and Ankle Center, your physician will examine your feet. They will ask you questions about your pain and ask you to do activities that aggravate your symptoms. You may feel some slight discomfort during this portion of the exam.

Your doctor will examine your growth to rule out related causes like calluses, cysts, or warts. The use of diagnostic technology will help your physician pinpoint the exact cause of your pain. Plus, the information from your x-ray will help your physician strategize a unique treatment plan for your healing.

Corns Treatment

There are many different corn treatment options. Depending on the extent of your condition, your physician may recommend surgical or non-surgical options.

Non-Surgical Treatment

The best place to start for corn treatment is to minimize the pressure and friction. This is possible with properly fitting shoes. A wide toe box with a soft upper can accommodate some mild to moderate toe deformities. This can help relieve the pressure of corns on feet.

A corn cushion on the top of your toe or lambs wool between the toes may help relieve pressure. The corn may be softened with mechanical exfoliation like a pumice stone or medical exfoliation (salicylic acid or urea cream). Care should be taken with medical exfoliation, especially in diabetics, as it may cause skin irritation and infection. The corns will often return if the increased pressure is not addressed.

Surgical Treatment

Occasionally, surgery is necessary for corn removal. Your physician may recommend surgery if there is a deformity that cannot be accommodated with wide toe box shoes, and there is pain that affects activities of daily living. Corn removal surgery may also be warranted if an ulcer or infection occurs secondary to the corn.

Getting relief from your pain starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics. Schedule a corn treatment consultation now!

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