Corns are small spots of hardened skin. If you suffer from a corn you already know that they can be extremely painful.
They form as a result of rubbing or pressure, usually at a joint. This is because there is a focus of pressure at the joint which squeezes the skin lying between the joint and the shoe. They are produced in a similar way to calluses, but are different in that they are small. They can feel like a small stone or piece of glass embedded in the skin.
There are several types of corn. Some of these are hard corns, soft corns, and seed corns.
Hard corns tend to develop as a result of rubbing or pressure, and can be under the foot, on top of the toes, between the toes, or on bunions. Corns on top of the toes or on the side of the big toe joint are almost always the result of shoes which do not fit properly. It can be very difficult to find shoes to fit properly when the toes are badly shaped, or when a bunion is present.
Soft corns develop between the toes. They are produced by pressure, but moisture between the toes (normally perspiration) causes it to swell and become even more painful. They can be caused by toe deformities which keep the toes pressed together, but frequently they are caused by tight shoes.
Seed corns occur under the foot. It is not clear how they start, but they can occur anywhere under the foot. This is not necessarily a problem, unless they are under a weightbearing area. Friction and pressure can cause them to develop until they become painful.
The Podiatrist will assess whether the footwear is a part of the problem, and give advice if necessary. In most cases, the corn and surrounding callus are skilfully reduced with a scalpel and the painful centre carefully removed. Very difficult corns may need additional treatment with chemicals. These soften the corn and make removal easier.
Unfortunately corns often return after treatment. This is because the original factors which produced the corn are still there, such as footwear, work or lifestyle. The Podiatrist can offer solutions such as padding or insoles where appropriate.
If you have never had chiropody treatment for your corns, then you will be amazed at how good your feet will feel afterwards.