What are corns?
Corns are essentially hardened skin. They can occur anywhere that skin is subjected to pressure. They appear as small circular patches of hardened skin.
Corns are similar to calluses, except that instead of growing flat, they grow inwards. The corn forms a hard centre which is forced deeper by pressure.
Occasionally corns occur between the toes. The corns are known as “Heloma Molle” or soft corns, as the moist environment between the toes prevents the corn from drying out. This type of corns usually appear white, with hard centres.
How does it happen?
While both corns and calluses are caused by pressure, corns are a result or a circular pressure, such as one caused by a pair of shoes sliding over a toe while walking.
Once a corn occurs, the pressure beneath the corn is increased. Without treatment, corns can worsen until the pain is quite severe.
In severe cases, the pressure beneath a corn can cause ulcerations, putting your foot at risk of infections.
What Treatments are available?
There are many products available to address corns, but most of these should be considered cautiously. Most off the shelf treatments include strong acids, which aim to dissolve the hard skin. Unfortunately if not used correctly, the acids will dissolve healthy skin around the corn resulting in a much larger wound.
The best option is to see a chiropodist or podiatrist who will debride the hard skin from the corn. This treatment can provide instant relief in many cases.
Don’t forget to remove the pressure that caused the corn in the first case, or the corn may recur.