Corns

A corn is a small area of skin which has become thickened due to excessive or prolonged pressure on it. Corns are usually painless. However, corns on the feet can become painful especially as they commonly form over the bony area of the foot.

Causes 

Corns are caused by excessive pressure or rubbing on the skin.
  • Corns on the toes are caused by excessive pressure and friction, such as from poorly fitting shoes or deformities of the feet which cause the skin to rub inside shoes. 
  • Corns on other areas are caused by excessive pressure and friction on the affected area.

Symptoms

  • The symptoms of corns on toes include a small painful patch on the top and side of the toes or between the toes, usually yellow or red in color. 
  • The symptoms of corns on other areas include a thickened area of skin which may be painless or slightly painful, and is usually yellow or red in color.  

Diagnosis

Corns can be symptomatically self-treated at home. Medical consultation is required for pain and other complications. However, patients with diabetes or blood circulation problems should seek medical attention for treatment and should not attempt to treat the corn themselves as it may become infected.
Treatment
  • Wear correct-sized footwear, gloves, socks or shoe insoles in order to protect the skin. Use a pumice stone to rub away any thickening skin after soaking it in warm water.
  • Use a keratin dissolving medication (such as salicylic acid) to reduce the thickness corns.
  • In serious cases, a minor operation or laser surgery may be needed to alleviate troublesome corns. 

Prevention

Prevention of corns on other areas 
  • Avoid activities that cause excessive pressure and friction on the skin.
  • Wear gloves, socks or shoe insoles to reduce friction. 
Prevention of corns on toes
  • Wear proper-sized footwear.
  • Wear proper-sized socks made from fabrics that do not cause skin irritation.
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