What are corns?
A corn is an area of hardened, thicken skin. They form because of a constant rubbing, pressure or friction of the skin. You may have noticed that corns and calluses are often spoken about together. Although they are similar, corn and calluses are different conditions. We already have an article discussing calluses on here that might be of use to you if you have one, but today, we are going to explore corns.
Corns typically develop on the top and sides of your feet. Hard corns are a little patch of hard, dead skin with a plug-like piece of skin in the middle of it. They can also be rubbery and white in colour with a much thinner surface; these are known as soft corns are can be found between the toes. Seed corns are a cluster of small corns that are usually found on the bottom of the feet. They can make a weight-bearing part of the foot very tender. Some doctors believe that seed corns are caused by a blockage in the sweat ducts.
What are the causes of corns?
Some corns develop due to an improper walking motion, but most are caused by wearing ill-fitting footwear. The friction and rubbing motion that ill-fitting footwear causes on your feet are the primary causes. High-heeled shoes are a prime example of shoes that can cause this rubbing. This means that women are a lot more likely to get corns than men. Other risk factors include wearing sandals and shoes without socks. This can increase the pressure and friction on the feet.
If you notice a corn on your child’s foot and there is no obvious friction or pressure from their footwear, get it looked at by their GP. It could be caused by a splinter under the skin, or it could be a wart.
Feet spend most of their life in moist, close condition and this is the perfect place for bacterial infections to start. If bacteria enter a corn this can cause the area to become infected. If a corn is infected, you will notice pus or fluid discharging from it.
The symptoms of corns
- Hard corns – a compact piece of hard skin with a dense core, normally located on a toe or the outside of the small toe.
- Soft corns – tender, red, smooth, thin layer of skin found between the toes.
- Seed corn – tiny corns formed in one place, often found on the ball or heel of the foot, can be painful when pressure is applied.
The treatment of corns
Most corns will disappear on their own over time after the friction or pressure has been solved. However, there are some remedies that you can use to try to speed up the healing, including:
- Salicylic acid liquids and plasters – these aren’t suitable for everyone, so please consult your doctor before use.
- Moleskin shoe inserts – these can help take the pressure off of the area.
- Antibiotics – for infected corns
- Urea creams – stronger creams containing urea can be more effective
To find out more about these treatments, please consult your GP or podiatrist. They will be able to suggest the best treatment for your corn.