How To Treat Corns

foot cornsDo your foot corns look like these?  What are the best ways how to treat corns, and how do you keep them from returning?

Foot Corns

Corns are simply areas of thickened skin on the toes.  The medical term for a foot corn (there always is a medical term!) is heloma.

Helomas have 2 types, soft (heloma molles)and hard (heloma durums).

Soft corns:

  • Develop between toes
  • May or may not be related to a bony deformity (but usually are)
  • Most common between 4th and 5th toes when the end of the toe bone (the phalanges) is too wide
  • Can occur in normal feet wearing tight, pointy shoes, and are common in dancers

What to do: 

Here are some useful tips that include how to prevent corns in the first place, and treat the ones you have. The main idea is to get pressure off the area and soothe the tissue.

  • Wear wider toed shoes
  • Use padding between the toes
  • Gently remove hardened skin by soaking the foot in warm water for 10-15 minutes then filing gently with an emory board or pumice stone. Don't try to remove the entire corn in one day. It will take several filings depending on how large the corn is. Apply a foot pad with salicylic acid, which will further decrease the corn.

Tip:  If soft corns are caused by widened bone, a minor surgery can be done with little down time.

Hard corns:

  • More common, hard corns develop on the tips, and tops of toes, and the sides of the feet
  • Common with toes that 'curl' and are jammed into shoes in a curled position

What to do:  As above, wear shoes with more room in the toe area and use protective padding

Tip:  Your podiatrist can remove the corns with an acid solution, or burn them.  If the toe is not flexible (called a hammertoe), a minor procedure can be done to release the soft tissue for a straighter toe.

Another thing to note about acid solutions -- salicylic acid -- is that it can discolor dark skin.
What's the difference between corns and calluses?

 As noted in the video, seek medical attention if you are experiencing pain, observing redness, swelling, or drainage, or if you need to alter your normal way of walking to accommodate this problem. Treating foot corns is usually something you can remedy yourself, but get professional help if you need it.