Like calluses, corns are hardened areas of tough, dead skin that form on areas of the toes or feet as a result of friction or uneven pressure. Unlike calluses, corns have a “core” of sensitive living tissue at the center that usually appears lighter than the surrounding dead tissue. Corns often develop as a result of wearing shoes that don't fit properly or wearing high heels on a regular basis, and they're also common among people with certain types of foot shapes or gait patterns.
Very mild corns in their early stages may be treated with frequent soaking to keep the skin soft, followed by application of moleskin to prevent friction. Wearing shoes that fit properly is also essential. More severe or thicker corns can be trimmed by a podiatrist to help relieve symptoms. When needed, injections of cortisone can be used to relieve significant pain and inflammation. Custom orthotics can be used to prevent corns from recurring by relieving pressure points. In some cases, such as when a corn is caused by a bunion or other underlying issue, surgery may be need to correct the problem and prevent corns from developing.
Often, corns can be prevented by choosing shoes that fit properly, especially in the toe area where tight, restrictive shoes can cause toes to rub against the shoe or each other. Shoes that don't provide adequate arch support can also result in friction, usually in the ball area of the foot located below the base of the toes. One of the best ways to prevent corns from developing and becoming symptomatic is to see a podiatrist at the first sign of corn formation, including tenderness or hard tissue formation. When foot shape makes it difficult to find footwear that fits properly, custom orthotics can be useful in providing adequate support that distributes pressure evenly. Over-the-counter remedies and at-home trimming should be avoided since these activities can damage the surrounding tissue and cause dangerous infections.
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