What is a Corn?

A corn, or foot corn, is scientifically referred to as a heloma. While the term corn is often times used in place of the term callus, it is important to note that they are different. Perhaps the greatest distinction between the two is the location in which they typically form. Corns usually occur in areas of little pressure or non-weight bearing areas, such as on the tops and sides of toes, and typically have a hard center surrounded by tender skin. They can be painful when pressed and result in a dull ache.

Calluses refer to areas of hardened skin that occur in weight-bearing areas, such as the soles of feet, and arise as a result of pressure and friction. Another distinction between corns and calluses is the size and shape. Corns are localized areas of thickened skin, usually circular-cone-shaped, whereas the callus is larger in diameter and appears more flattened and diffused across the sole of a foot or palm of the hand. The board-certified podiatrists at American Foot & Leg Specialists are experts in identifying the differences, and will diagnose your problem quickly.

Types of Toe Corns

  • Hard Corns: are the most common type of corn, located on toes and usually develop due to poorly fitted shoes. The anatomical structure of the toes, which tend to curve downward, forces the tops of the toes to push towards the top of shoe toe box, and a hard corn develops due to the pressure.
  • Soft Corns: are found between the toes, more often between the fourth and fifth toe. Unlike the normal, flesh-colored hard corns, a soft corn is whiter and softer in appearance due to the continuous softening by sweat.

What Causes Corns?

The single largest cause of toe corns is ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that are too small, too tight, and/or have a narrow, elongated toe box, result in extra pressure on the joints of toes (where corns tend to develop). Other foot conditions such as bunions and hammertoe tend to increase the odds of developing corns due to over-compensating because of pain, resulting in added pressure on the rest of the foot. Pre-existing foot deformities can also result in added pressure to an area of the foot, causing corns.

How to Treat Corns

The physicians at American Foot & Leg Specialists offer several options for treating corns. The first assessment would be to make sure that you are wearing properly fitted shoes to reduce pressure on the joints, which would thereby reduce the occurrence of corns. Addressing this problem can be all it takes to get rid of the corns, oftentimes causing them to disappear within two weeks. It is sometimes necessary to take other measures, however. Such measures include using medicated pads or salicylic acid that pares the corn. Patients can also apply an exfoliating foot cream to the corn. The foot cream can be applied liberally and worn overnight to moisten the hard corn, making it easier to remove. Patients with diabetes should allow one of our physicians at American Foot & Leg Specialists to evaluate and assess the condition accordingly.

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American Foot and Leg Specialists draws patients from all over the Atlanta area. Our 4 locations in Stockbridge, Forest Park, Fayetteville, and Locust Grove, are just short drive from Midtown, Buckhead, East Point, College Park, Riverdale, Jonesboro, Irondale, McDonough, and Peachtree City. Schedule a consultation today to eliminate your foot and ankle problems.