Proper foot care is vital to prevent many problems. These issues can range from unsightly and annoying to serious or even fatal. While corns certainly land on the annoying side of the scale, if not treated appropriately it can advance to necessitating serious medical attention. Following the information in this article will help you to prevent corns, learn the best treatments for corns at home, and know when to contact your doctor for care.
DISTINGUISHING CORNS FROM CALLUSES
Corns are often confused with calluses. Both are a protective response of the body to an external irritant. They are caused by extended pressure or friction and present as hard or soft areas of thickened skin. While corns can be found anywhere on the foot, they are more common on the top or side; calluses are more common on the sole of the foot. Corns are usually smaller than callouses. The hallmark feature distinguishing a corn from the less troublesome callous is pain. Corns can become very painful, especially if the source of the pressure or friction is not resolved and the corn grows and deepens.
OTHER CAUSES OF CORNS
Some corns are caused by your gait or bone structure; an orthopedic doctor can evaluate you and recommend shoe orthotics and other solutions to help remove pressure caused by daily walking. Best Foot Doctor NY offers orthotics and friendly consultations to discuss options that are available to you.
HOW TO PREVENT CORNS
As with most problems, the best treatment is to prevent it: think carefully about the added pressure surrounding your feet each day.
Ways to decrease pressure on your feet
- Buy shoes that fit well. You should be able to wiggle your toes.
- Avoid high-heeled shoes as these increase the pressure on the ball of your foot. If required to wear heels, bring a pair of shoes to change into as soon as possible.
- Wear socks with your shoes. If your shoe is rubbing on a specific place on your foot, make sure that spot is protected with a sock or felt pad.
- Choose breathable cotton socks.
- Buy new shoes as yours begin to show signs to wear. Depending on your daily habits, you may need new shoes every few months.
- Rotate which shoes you wear throughout the week so that you aren’t wearing the same pair every day.
- Keep your feet clean and dry to prevent infection.
IF A CALLOUS STARTS TO APPEAR
If you notice a callous development, consider how your shoes fit and change them if needed. Wear a felt pad or corn pad to protect the irritated area. Make sure you are keeping your feet clean and dry. Over time, with the source of the pressure removed, the irritated skin should heal. Do not hesitate to see your doctor especially if it gets worse or becomes excessively painful. Fortunately, most corns can be best treated without surgery.
CORN FOOT PADS
As a corn is healing, you may find it helpful to get a corn foot pad that will protect the area from continued pressure and friction. Make sure that your foot is clean and dry before applying the pad. Place it on the corn and change it every 2 days.
Warning about medicated pads
Over-the-counter pads with liquid corn solutions that contain salicylic acid can increase your risk of infection and cause damage to the healthy skin surrounding your corn. For this reason, these medicated pads are not recommended by Best Foot Doctor NY.
SHRINKING THE CORN
You can file down a corn with a nail file or pumice stone. Soak your feet in warm water first to soften the skin. Do not use any sharp instruments as that may increase the risk of infection through open skin.
Cautions for diabetics
If you have diabetes or any other condition that reduces blood flow or sensation to your feet, do not file your corn down without medical supervision. Diabetics also need to be aware of any changes in their feet due to poor circulation caused by an increase in sugar in their bloodstream
OTHER AT-HOME TREATMENTS
Keep your feet moisturized. Clean and dry your feet well before applying lotion and do not rub lotion between your toes. Do not put lotion on broken skin unless instructed by your doctor.
RISK FOR INFECTION
The most common concern with corns is the possibility of infection. Always wear socks and shoes outside or in any area that may be dirty. The risk for infection increases with broken skin. If you notice skin breakdown on your feet keep the corn clean, dry, and covered at all times.
Recognizing an infection
Signs and symptoms of infection include:
- Increased redness, swelling, or sensitivity around the corn
If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. In most cases the infection can be treated with local or oral antibiotics.
WHEN TO CONTACT YOUR PODIATRIST
Do not hesitate to contact your podiatrist if you have any concerns, the corn is growing or becoming more painful, or you start to have symptoms of an infection. Depending on the location and severity of the corn, prompt medical attention may be needed. Your doctor may offer to trim or shave the corn at your appointment. He can also suggest medications to treat the corn and any infection.
Surgery is rarely recommended as it doesn’t truly address the cause of the corn. However, in cases of corns caused by bone structure, hip joint angles, or your gait, surgery may be suggested to adjust for pressure caused by anatomical structures. At Best Foot Doctor NY, we welcome your questions and will make every effort to answer them professionally and compassionately.
Just like in sports, the best offense is a good defense. Always seek to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place by wearing appropriate shoes and practicing good foot hygiene. However, if you do develop corns, follow these principles to care for them. Seek medical attention when needed. At Best Foot Doctor NY, we welcome your questions and will make every effort to answer them professionally and compassionately.
For more information visit
Corns and calluses – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic Calluses vs. Corns – Treatment, Home Remedies, Removal (webmd.com)