Corns are hard and thick patches of the skin that stem from constant friction and pressure in a localized area. It is not a dangerous condition, but they may cause constant irritation.
Read on to find out all about this particular skin condition and ways to get rid of them:
What are Corns?
As mentioned above, corns are a build-up of hard dead skin usually on the bottom of feet, sides of toes, fingers, or hands. Corns are extremely painful and appear when skin encounters constant friction. Their size varies from small to large and consist of three different types:
- Hard corns: They comprise small patches of hard dead skin. They usually appear on the toes. The bone pressure falling over this region results in a hard corn.
- Soft corns: This category of corns is softer and has a rubbery feel when touched. They are usually grey or white and form in the region between toes.
- Seed corns: This is a smaller form of corn that usually appears on the underside of the feet.
Symptoms of Corns:
You can sense the formation of a corn by observing the following symptoms:
- Hardening of skin areas that face constant pressure;
- Rising of skin as a bump—small and round—with skin irritation around it;
- Larger, thicker patch of skin, flat in appearance;
- Painful nature of the bump;
- Redness and blisters in the area;
Causes of Corns
Use of tight shoes
Using tight shoes is a common cause of corns. The inner surface of tight shoes rubs against the skin, causing pressure and friction. For instance, women who use high-heels develop corns or calluses in the pressure points. and develop heel pain.
Improper use of shoes and socks:
- Not wearing shoes in rough terrain can cause corns
- Not using a pair of socks with shoes can increase friction on your feet and lead to corns
- If your socks slip and cluster inside your shoes, you may develop corns
- Physical movements with intense exercise for long periods can cause corns in areas of skin contact. For instance, walking and running can lead to corns.
- Activities which exert pressure on a specific region of your legs, hands, or fingers also lead to corns
- Walking in the wrong posture can cause unexpected pressure and friction in areas not intended to take up leading to corns.
- Deformities by birth or hammertoes can lead to corns on foot.
Complications or risk factors
The presence of a few risk factors may increase the risk of contracting corns. Here are some complications that can arise –
- Foot deformities: The presence of a bone spur or other abnormalities in your toes causes irritation within your shoe eventually leading to corns.
- Hammertoes: In this condition, your toes curl inwards, increasing friction when using shoes.
- Bunions: These are thick bumps that form close to the joint that holds your largest toe. causing corns.
- Exposed hands: Using bare hands for intense activities like construction, mechanical jobs, or gym workout can lead to corns.
Treatment of Corns
Before treating the corn, you should understand the triggering factor. By removing the factor causing friction or pressure, you can cure the condition in most cases.
If this does not help, consider the following measures:
- Take away the source of friction: By removing the source of friction, the corn may recede. By using the right fitting shoes or socks. Proper protection is ensured while doing activities that put excessive pressure on the skin.
- File the corn away: Remove the corn by filing. First, soak the corn in warm water for 20 minutes2. Then remove your feet from water and gently scrape off dead skin. Use a pumice stone, emery boards (the rough part of nail-cutters), or foot brushes to file the corn.
Remember not to file too much skin which may lead to bleeding and infection.
- Apply products containing salicylic acid: Ointments, scrubs, and lotions containing salicylic acid are effective in removing corns. Apply these on your corn. Dip your feet in warm water before scraping them off gently as above. The presence of salicylic acid makes the removal of dead skin easier.
If you have a skin problem, consult your doctor before using products with salicylic acid. Avoid using it if you have diabetes and poor circulation.
- Use corn pads: You can also use corn pads smeared with a lotion containing salicylic acid which prevents further friction on the affected area and supports the easy removal of dead cells
Precautions for Corns
Taking appropriate measures can keep away corns. Here are a few tips:
- Wear right-sized shoes and socks: Measure your feet correctly before buying shoes and socks. This will ensure the right fit and prevent excessive pressure on your feet.
- Wear corn pads: Use foam, or felt cloth as corn pads. This will prevent excess pressure arising from contact between skin and shoes.
- Keep the feet moisturized: Dryness induces more friction on the skin. Hence, moisturizing creams can help prevent corn formation4. However, l do not use moisturizers with alcohol as they can cause additional dryness.
- Keep your feet clean: Cleaning your feet regularly ensures timely removal of dead cells which prevents corn formation.
- Trim your nails: Trim your nails regularly. as they may push against the shoes or push neighbouring toes, causing corn formation.
- Use gloves while doing an intense activity: use protection, if you do physical activities that require skin contact. For instance, use a pair of gloves if you workout in the gym or do construction work.
FAQs of Corns:
- What causes corns and calluses on feet?
Prolonged pressure or friction on our feet causes corns and calluses. For instance, wearing tight shoes, wearing shoes without socks, and activities like running or walking can cause corns and calluses. on our feet.
- How do you get rid of corns and calluses?
The primary way to get rid of corns and calluses. is to remove the factor causing pressure or friction to your skin.
- What happens if corn is left untreated?
Leaving a corn untreated may lead to acute pain. Sometimes it might get infected by bacteria, and spread, causing cellulitis or infect nearby bone tissue and tendon. This condition is Osteomyelitis.
- When should I go to the doctor for corn?
In case you show signs like severe pain, swelling, reddening, bleeding or infection, consult a doctor without delay. Further, if you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or fragile skin, consult a doctor right away.