Table of Contents
Definition of Corns
Corns are growths of thickened skin on the tops and sides of the toes.
Corns result from accumulations of keratocytes that develop in response to repeated pressure, typically from shoes that are too tight, and are the body’s effort to protect the skin and underlying tissues.
A corn has a hard inner core with a surrounding ring of thickened though soft skin. Corns often hurt because they compress and irritate the nerves in the underlying tissues, and continue to grow as long as the pressure against the toes continues.
The most effective treatment for corns is prevention by wearing low-heeled shoes that fit properly. A shoe with a heel more than half an inch higher than the rest of the shoe’s sole causes the foot to slide forward in the shoe, squeezing the toes and subjecting them to pressure from the sides and top. Once a corn develops, treatment focuses on softening the skin and relieving pressure against the area. Self-care measures include
- wearing flat-soled, wide-toe-box shoes
- using corn pads, donut-shaped felt or foam rings, to relieve pressure against the sensitive inner core of the corn while wearing shoes
- gently rubbing the corn with a pumice stone while in the bath or shower
- applying aloe vera gel or moisturizing lotion to the area
Large corns or corns that fail to respond to selfcare measures require evaluation and possible treatment from a podiatrist (foot care specialist), who may anesthetize the corn and use a scalpel to shave away some of the overgrown skin.
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