Conditions & Treatments

Corns

A corn is a form of callus, a protective layer of dead skin cells formed due to repeated friction of toes rubbing together or against the shoe. The build up of skin can put pressure on a nerve causing sharp pain. Corns can develop on the top or between toes.

Causes:

  • Shoes, socks, or stockings that fit too tightly around the toes.
  • Pressure on the toes from high-heeled shoes.
  • Shoes that are too loose can also cause corns due to the friction of the foot sliding within the shoe.
  • Deformed and crooked toes.

Prevention:

  • Do not wear too loose or too tight shoes. Wear well-padded shoes with open toes or a deep toe box. If necessary, stretch the shoes in the area where the corn or callus is located.
  • Wear thick but not tight socks to absorb pressure.
  • Apply petroleum jelly or lanolin hand cream to corns or calluses to soften them.
  • Use doughnut-shaped pads that fit over a corn and decrease pressure and friction, they are available at most drug stores.
  • Place cotton, lamb’s wool, or mole skin between the toes to cushion any corns in these areas.

Treatment:

  • To remove a corn or callus, soak it in very warm water for five minutes or more to soften the hardened tissue, then gently sand it with a pumice stone. Several treatments may be needed.
  • Do not trim corns or calluses with a razor blade or other sharp tool, because your risk causing infection or a deep cut, leading to excessive bleeding.
  • There are a number of over-the-counter pads, plasters, and medications for removing corns and calluses. However, you should be careful when using these treatments. They commonly contain salicylic acid, which may cause irritations, burns, or infections that are more serious than the corn or callus. The following patients should not use these treatments: diabetics, patients with reduced feeling in the feet due to blood circulation problems or neurological diseases, or elderly, who do not have the flexibility or eyesight to use them properly.