Corns form on your toes for a good cause: to protect sensitive skin from excess friction. However, these small skin patches can feel annoying and painful at times, and might do more hurting than helping.
The Hard and the Soft of It
Soft corns usually develop between the toes where the bones from different toes rub together and touch. They can create a thick skin that’s softer than the corns on the tops of your toes. When your shoes rub on this area, you can develop a harder corn where the shoes and toe tops meet.
Shoes are a Big Cause
The way you walk and the shoes you wear can be a big cause of the small, calloused skin on your feet. High heels put excess pressure on the toe area, which makes women more at risk for developing this condition. Wearing sandals and shoes without socks also increases the friction that causes problems. Foot deformities like hammertoes or claw toes can cause the tops of your toes to hit your shoes more often, which contributes to corns as well.
Different from a Callus
A corn will differ from a callus in the size and thickness. They’re usually localized, thick, conical, or circular areas of skin that appear on the tops of your feet. They may even have a translucent, waxy look. A callus is more of a flattened, diffused patch of tough skin. You might not be able to tell where your normal skin ends and the callus begins. With a corn, the affected area will be evident. They also differ because they tend to be painful, especially if your shoes rub on them while walking.
Treatment: At Home or at Sierra Foot & Ankle?
We recommend treatment at our office if you are suffering from this problem and have diabetes or other circulation problems in your feet. We also recommend an appointment as soon as possible if you notice an infection starting.
Otherwise, you can try to treat the problem at home. The best way to start is with a foot soak. Once your feet are soft, try gently sloughing down the area each day with an emery board. They’re gentler than pumice stones and can get in those hard-to-reach areas with ease. There’s also the option of using salicylic acid treatments in the form of drops and pads.
Doughnut-shaped pads can also be applied to the area, along with a drop of castor oil. Cover the area with a bandage to keep in the moisture. As the pad keeps the friction off the area, you’ll see the corn soften and go away.
If these home treatments don’t help, come and see us at Sierra Foot & Ankle.
Keep Corny Toes Away
Wear shoes that don’t rub against the tops of your toes or squish the toes together. This is one of the main things that causes corns. After care is also important. You should continue to wear doughnut pads over the area where the corn first formed, to prevent another from recurring.
We may be able to help you with orthotics that will offload pressure from your problem areas as well. Call Victoria L. Melhiush, DPM, in Carson City, Nevada at (775) 783-8037. Sierra Foot & Ankle is also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!