What are Corns?

Corns are diminutive, hard lumps of thickened skin that often form in clusters on the upper and side areas of toes or the foot’s sole. Typically arising due to pressure or injury, corns, while common, can escalate to severe discomfort.

There are three primary categories of corns:

  1. Hard Corn: This variant is the most prevalent, characterized by its hard texture, comparable to feeling a pebble in your shoe while walking. These yellow-tinged, round, and dense patches of skin can cause significant discomfort and pain when pressed.
  2. Seed Corn: Appearing as tiny, hard dots that resemble yellow seeds, seed corns usually emerge on callused sections under the foot. Unlike other types, they’re not directly linked to pressure.
  3. Soft Corn: Forming in the moist interdigital spaces between toes, soft corns are fairly common. They have a white, rubbery texture and can cause considerable pain due to toe friction.

Although all three corn types can make wearing shoes and walking a challenge, the encouraging news is that they are often treatable and can be removed with relative ease.
What Causes Corns?

The formation of corns on the feet can be attributed to several factors, prominently including:

  • Improperly Fitted Footwear: Shoes that don’t fit correctly can create problems. Too loose footwear may cause the foot to slide and chafe, whereas shoes that are overtly tight or narrow exert undue pressure on the feet.
  • High-Heeled Footwear: Shoes with high heels are particularly notorious for concentrating excessive stress on specific foot areas, leading to the development of corns.
  • Toe Deformities: Abnormal toe shapes, such as hammer toes (where a toe is bent at its middle joint) or bunions (characterized by the outward protrusion of the big toe’s joint and the toe angling towards the other toes), can lead to friction and subsequently, corns.
  • Walking Imbalances: An uneven weight distribution while walking can also be a precursor to corn formation, as it places irregular pressure on different foot parts.
What are the Treatment Options for my Corns?

Several effective treatments exist for managing corns, each tailored to the severity and cause of the condition.

  • Insoles and Orthotics: Custom-made insoles or orthotic inserts, designed after a comprehensive biomechanical foot assessment, can significantly alleviate corns. These personalized devices fit into your shoes, aiming to diminish friction and, consequently, corn formation. Additional supports like foot pads, gels, and other products can also be beneficial.
  • Clinical Reduction: This involves a straightforward and typically pain-free procedure to lessen the corn’s size and alleviate discomfort.
  • Surgical Treatment: For more severe cases, surgery may be warranted to address the root cause of the corns. This can involve either surgically correcting the deformity causing the corn or removing the corn under anesthesia.