A “corn” is formed in a similar way to callus. When extra pressure is applied to an area of the skin the body will try to form protection, when this pressure is over a localised area the callus forms a centralised are known as corn, the body’s idea of a hard hat!!

There are three different types of corns.

  1. A hard corn – cone shaped, with a central area, usually found over a bony area of the foot e.g. side of toes or the ball of the foot
  2. A soft corn – a central area, normally found between the toes. The area rubs with the neighbouring toe and form a soft often wet corn.
  3. A seed corn – as the name suggests these are small hard and dry like seeds and can be found in any location on the foot. The cause is not known but often these corns occur when the skin is excessively dry.

How to treat corns

Again try to find the cause of the extra pressure and if possible remove. If your shoes seem tight and are bulging to fit your feet the extra pressure in time may cause this problem. If the are is very painful a felt ring pad or ring (NOT a medicated corn plaster) can be applied around the corn; this will reduce the pressure to the area, and so relieve pain.

Hard Corns

Gently filing the area will reduce the overlying callus down (A sandpaper/glass paper foot file best used when the feet are dry before they are washed)

A light application of moisturising cream will improve the texture of the skin, especially if it’s dry.

If this is unsuccessful the build up of callus/corn may be too much and a visit to a Chiropodist/Podiatrist may be required for reduction to give you a helpful start.

Soft Corns

The skin needs to be dried out to stop the stickiness and rubbing together. The use of an alcohol such as witch hazel or surgical spirit applied with cotton wool or a cotton bud will help to dry the skin. Using talcum powder is not recommended between the toes, the powder will absorb any moisture found on the skin but then often stays there moist for the rest of the day until it is washed out again.

Seed Corns

Often the skin is dry so a more intense emollient is needed, often containing a % of urea. The cream should be applied regularly on a daily basis until the corns improve. You may find the corns will fall out when a gentle exfoliate is carefully used. However this will only be a temporary solution if emollient is not regularly used.

Continual Treatment

Remember a corn is formed by pressure; it does not as most people think have a root, this means the problem will reoccur unless the cause is removed.

In most cases regular filing (about 1-2 x a week or as needed), will keep your feet comfortable but not solve the problem. Avoid using sharp instruments to remove the corn, the foot file should work enough and you are more likely to cause yourself an injury rather than help the situation.

DO NOT be tempted to use medicated corn plasters or acid liquids as these work by burning the corn away but often will not recognise normal skin from corn and can burn the foot, causing more pain.

You may find an insole or continued padding is needed and a chiropodist/ podiatrist can help with this.

Other useful pages:

  • Callus
  • General footcare
  • Footwear