Corns are thickened areas of skin that develop in response to excessive pressure and friction. This can occur when one toe rubs repeatedly against another, or when the toes rub against ill-fitting footwear. Typically hard and circular, corns are usually not a serious problem, but can be quite painful if untreated, especially when wearing shoes.
Since corns are often symptoms of underlying problems such as faulty bone structures or abnormal gait, self-treatment should only involve footwear modification. Never attempt to cut or scrape away a corn on your own as this can lead to infection. It’s best to consult your podiatrist first as many times over-the-counter treatments fail to effectively treat the underlying foot disorder and can damage the healthy surrounding skin if used incorrectly.
A podiatrist will assess your corn, determine the cause, and help you determine a treatment plan to manage the pain and eliminate pressure that is causing the corn. These conservative treatments may include padding to prevent pressure, footwear modifications and orthotics to relive stress under the foot. When pain is persistent or conservative treatment isn’t effective, minimally-invasive surgical correction may be recommended to remove the corn or repair the bone structure beneath the corn.
The surgery can often be performed in the doctor’s office, the recovery time is brief, and many patients obtain relief within days. Corns always require consultation with an experienced podiatrist. When treated early, most corns can be resolved with non-surgical treatments.