Foot Corns
what they are
and how to deal with them

To understand foot corns and what they are, we must first understand the skin and how the skin is formed.

Then how the skin reacts when pressure points are placed on it.

The skin is formed in two layers, there is the ‘dermis’ which lies beneath the ‘epidermis’.

The ‘epidermis’ being the outer layer of the skin.

The skin covering the body is, more or less, of even thickness except where the pressure is greater.

These areas are the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

After working physically hard with our hands we can, after some time, get tough hard skin forming.

I remember as a kid my father who was a carpenter and never wore gloves, he had skin on his hands as rough as the back of a crocodile.

Of course being a man he would shun the idea of using

skin cream

On the feet we normally wear shoes, and if they don’t fit right, especially around the toe area, then all kinds of problems can occur.

The material and ventilation of the shoe is also important so that a build up of heat to parts of the foot is discouraged.

Foot conditions in the shape of an ingrown toenail, bunions, hammer toe, and of course a corn or corns can generally be easily avoided simply by wearing good shoes of natural material with plenty of room (front and sides) for the toes.

How a Corn is formed

In the case of the feet, where a part of the foot is pressurised against the restraining shoe material, the deep layers of the epidermis become stimulated to produce new skin cells more rapidly than normal.

The skin becomes thicker at that point, if too much skin cells are produced then the skins superficial layer becomes harder and forms a callus.

Assisting the formation of calluses would be to have dry skin.

Calluses are the bodys attempt to protect itself from heavy wear and pressure.

Foot corns are small areas of callus which is seated more deeply through concentrated pressure points.

The shape of a foot corn is normally conical and they usually are found in close proximity to a joint, a metatarsal or a toe joint.

The foot or toe joint that is pressed hard against the shoe material forms the pressure point or friction point.

This pressure / friction point will in turn become the begining of the foot corn.

The usual points or areas of the foot where a corn will form are normally over the jointed areas of the toes.

Underneath, or on the base of the foot where there is a pressure point (under the jointed areas of the toe).

One of the commonest places for a corn to form is on the jointed part of the small toe.

The small toe is the outside part of the foot and, with tight fitting shoes, will be a natural pressure point on the foot.

Relieving the foot pain or toe pain

Relief from pain can be had by removing the pressure point or the object rubbing against the corn.

This can be done by placing a ‘horseshoe shaped ’ corn plaster around the corn.

It is horseshoe shaped in order to give the pressure an ‘exit’.

If it were a round shaped plaster there is no exit for the pressure.

Foot soak can be another form of relief from the toe pain or foot pain.

The water with some salts or naturally formed minerals added to it can soften the callus or the corn.

Using healthy footwear or shoes that give more room inside, without rubbing or chaffing is another way of avoiding the pain and even preventing the condition from getting worse.

The placing of a cotton wool cushion around the corn area may help, secured by a sticky plaster.

If the corn is on the sole of the foot then soft insoles or shoe liners can relieve the pain.

Another, more drastic way, is to have the corn removed.

This should only be done by a trained and qualified Chiropodist or


It should not to be attempted at home by the inexperienced.

Types of Foot Corns

  • Vascular corn.
  • This type has to cut out in small pieces at a time, leaving the base to be treated with a silver nitrate solution.

    Otherwise it may well bleed.

    The last thing a Chiropodist will want is this situation as it means that the skin is broken and open to infection.

    Care must be taken to use anti bacterial or anti fungal spray for use inside the shoe and the socks too.

  • Neural corn.
  • The Chiropodist will take great care with this as it can be very painful.

  • Neuro-vascular.
  • This is a combination of the two above and needs great care to remove without bleeding and without too much pain.

  • Soft corn.
  • As its name suggests it is soft to an almost sticky state.

    Usually found between the toes or in the softer skin areas of the foot. As other corns it has to be cut out by a specialist to be removed.

  • Seed corn.
  • These appear on the sole of the foot and look like seeds sprinkled on the foot.

    They are generally smaller than normal foot corns, are not raised at the head and are usually found in groups.

    They are not too common and cause the bearer none to little discomfort and can go away through wear and tear.

    They can be easily removed and treated by a specialist Podiatrist.

  • Sub ungal corn.
  • This particularly nasty little devil appears under the toenail and, can at first be wrongly diagnosed as toenail fungus.

This is because where the corn pushes up under the toenail then that area can appear yellowish, giving the look of toenail fungus. However this type is rather more painful.

The causes of a sub ungal corn is the same as other corns, pressure.

Pressure directly down onto the toenail itself. Again, usually from ill fitting shoes.

Relief from pain can be had from making the toenail a little thinner and pushing cotton wool under the toenail to lift it a little. (Change cotton wool frequently as it is a breeding ground for bacteria).

Or add a drop of tea tree oil to the cotton wool.

A Chiropodist may use a nail drill to relieve the pressure or cut a ‘V’ in the nail over the pressure point alleviating toe pain.

If you think you have a foot corn, there is a part of your footwear that is causing it.

You must change your shoes or your style of shoes so that they can not make these pressure points and allow a corn to form.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it is always wise to seek help from a trained and qualified Chiropodist or Podiatrist.

A Pedicurist is not qualified for this job of removing corns.

A professional will soon have you up and running around in no time at all, give you great advice on how to avoid these little painful monsters and all done as painlessly as possible.

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From Foot Corns to Foot conditions

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