A corn that's fixin to pop!

Corns are very common foot complaint that have been around since people started wearing closed shoes. Corns and callouses form in areas of friction or pressure as the body attempts to protect the skin. They are composed of compressed layers of the outermost layer of skin. The difference in the terminology is usually related to size, with callouses being larger and broader and corns being more concentrated. A common location for a corn is on the top of the toe joints. This is due to the interaction of the toe or toes with the toe box of the shoe. Toes with contractures of the joints, termed hammer toes, are more likely to have corns form because the contractures cause the joint to press up into the toe box of the shoe. Normal toes can get corns as well from wearing ill fitting shoes. It is important to pay attention to shoe fit in all dimensions, length, width and toe box depth. Deeper toe boxes are especially helpful for feet with hammer toes. Corns and callouses are not in themselves painful as the hard tissue does not have live cells. Pain usually occurs as the hard corn and the hard bone of the joint pinch the soft tissue between them. Reducing the thickness of the corn can help relieve symptoms. This is most effectively performed by a podiatrist using a scalpel blade. Various shielding materials can be used as well to cushion the toe from the shoe. Shoes should be examined for fit. Leather shoes can be stretched to increase room in the toe box. Wider and higher to box shoes should be considered especially for those with toe deformities. Corns on hammertoes that are resistant to conservative care can be managed surgically by correction of the hammertoe deformity. Don’t let that corn stop you! Come in to see me for an evaluation and treatment.

Author
Paul Betschart, DPM Dr. Betschart has over 26 years of experience in treating patients of all ages with all kinds of foot and ankle conditions. His mission is to provide you with helpful information about foot and ankle issues and the latest developments in healthcare.

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