Corns are the names of the small hard circles that can form on the feet due to excessive pressure on the skin. They are usually caused by ill fitting, or overly tight shoes, but can also occur on particularly bony feet, as there is less cushioning to prevent the skin from being pressed against the bone, and a corn from forming. They’re most often found on the tops and soles of the feet, but can also occur as a side effect of conditions such as bunions. Both conditions are a thickening of the skin which can be a response to stresses placed on the foot, potentially by friction.
How to Recognise a Corn
Corns are often mistaken for calluses, but they are quite different. Calluses are much larger than corns, and don’t have such a well-defined circular edge. A corn looks like a small yellowed circle of flat hard skin, and unlike a callus – which due to its thickness, loses sensation – can be very painful. They usually develop on the sole of the foot, or on the top or sides of the toes, but they can occur anywhere.
What exactly is a Corn?
Where the skin is compressed in a concentrated area, it hardens. Unlike a callus, where only the skin on the surface hardens, with a corn, the tissue can harden all the way down to the bone, so every time any pressure is placed upon that area, it is transferred to the nerve-rich areas close to the bones of the foot. There are two kinds of corns: hard corns and soft corns. The differences might surprise you – hard corns commonly occur on top of smaller toes, where poorly fitted shoes can rub. This gives them a hard feeling. Soft corns meanwhile form in between toes. They are soft because sweat can keep them moist. Soft corns can sometimes become infected.
Can they be prevented?
Corns can be prevented by ensuring that you wear shoes that fit, and by paying attention to your feet. If you notice that shoes are rubbing or putting excessive pressure on a specific area of your foot then don’t continue to wear those shoes, as it is very possible that a corn could form.
What to Do if You Have a Corn?
The first thing to do if you notice you have a corn, is to remove the cause. A corn will not improve unless the source of the pressure is removed permanently, so identify what has caused the corn to form and make sure that it isn’t going to worsen the situation.
In the short term, to relive your pain and discomfort, it’s advisable that you procure specialised corn plasters, or cushions, which remove pressure from the area to prevent it from worsening, but also relive the pain.
These plasters will not treat the corn however, and to do this you can use a softening liquid and exfoliator.
You simply apply the softening liquid daily, to break down the tough skin that forms the corn, and then use the scraper to exfoliate the top layers of the corn once every three days – reducing the thickness, removing the pressure and the pain. Please always remember to follow all on-pack directions for any corn treatment product that you use.