Corns are not dangerous, but can cause discomfort or pain, due to the irritation or inflammation caused by the pressure on the underlying skin. In order to help keep or restore your personal comfort it is important to treat your corns.
- Corns are raised hardened bumps or rough patches of skin.
- You can get corns on your toes, the sole of your feet or heel.
- They may be yellow, waxy or flaky and might be sensitive or painful to touch.
In this article:
- How to treat corns
- Prevention is key!
- When should I seek medical advice?
How to treat corns
Small corns usually go away by themselves if you avoid the pressure causing them. If you have a corn that causes irritation or pain, there are several ways to relieve the pressure and treat the corn. When treated, corns usually take about two to four weeks to disappear. In all cases, taking care of your feet, washing and moisturizing them regularly helps.
Please note that if you have insensitive skin due to poor circulation, diabetes or nerve damage, you should consult a doctor before treating your corns.
- Scraping – Trimming by scraping is generally only necessary for large painful corns. Scraping should be performed by a doctor or foot specialist. If you would like to trim your corn yourself, you can file it.
- Filing – If you have a corn that is causing irritation, gently filing it down with a pumice stone might help to relieve pressure. It’s highly recommended to ensure the skin is moisturized/softened before filing. You should soak the corn in warm water for about 10 minutes before hand to soften the skin. Dip the pumice stone in the water and then gently remove the dead skin by circular or sideways motions. Pay attention that you do not remove too much skin as this might cause bleeding and infection. Instead, remove only small amounts and repeat the action regularly until the corn disappears.
- Over the counter (OTC) options – Cushioned pads like Compeed® Corn cushions have hydrocolloid technology to provide pain relief and help stop further rubbing. Other OTC options include treatments containing salicylic acid, which helps to dissolve the keratin structure that makes up the dead skin. Following the treatment, the dead skin will turn white and can be filed away. These treatments should only be used cautiously as the salicylic acid might irritate the surrounding healthy skin and should not be used on cracked corns. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, you should avoid these treatments, or consult your doctor before any treatment.
Prevention is key with corns
Corns can often return, if the source of pressure causing it remains. Therefore, it is important to find the source of the pressure and avoid it.
This is most often achieved by simply changing to more comfortable footwear or using padding like Compeed Corn Cushions. In some cases, shoe inserts might help. Only in rare cases medical intervention is required.
When should I seek medical advice on corns?
Although corns are not dangerous, they can cause irritation, inflammation or even ulceration. If you experience severe inflammation or pain, you should seek medical advice. If you are unsure if what you have is a corn, you might consult a doctor.
Frequently reappearing corns might be caused by foot abnormalities, such as deformities, structural abnormalities of the bones, poor bone alignment or an abnormal gait. If you are concerned by the frequency or persistency of your corns, you might want to visit a doctor or podiatrist in order to rule out or detect any of these underlying causes. In these cases, a specific padding or shoe insert might help you to prevent corns from reappearing, or, in rare cases, surgery might be necessary.