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What is it and what are the symptoms?

Corns are areas of hard, thickened skin that develop when the skin is exposed to excessive pressure or friction. They commonly occur on the feet and can cause pain and discomfort when walking.

The hard skin presents itself as an inverted small circle of thick skin or a ‘’cone’. This ‘’cone’’ pushes into the skin and causes pain and discomfort.

There are various types of corn:

  • Hard Corns (heloma durum) These are often found on the soles of the feet or on the tips and front of the toes.
  • Soft Corns (helomamolle) These are often found between the toes.
  • Seed Corns (helomamillaire) which are smaller and found on the soles of the feet.

What causes them?

People often get them if they’ve been wearing badly fitting shoes or spend a lot of time standing during the day. Corns often occur on bony feet as there’s a lack of natural cushioning. They can also develop as a symptom of another foot problem, such as a bunion (a bony swelling at the base of the big toe) or hammer toe (where the toe is bent at the middle joint), both causing increased pressure.

What is the treatment?

The affected areas are filed or pared with a sharp blade to remove any thickened skin and a general foot health assessment is also undertaken. Padding or toe separators may be required to reduce and relieve any pressure to the affected areas. It is important to not cut the hard skin areas at home. It is important to remember that corns on feet will not get better unless the cause of the pressure is removed. If the cause is not removed, the skin will become thicker and more painful over time.

A corn is a symptom of an underlying problem. Self- management is only recommended when you are aware of the cause and on the advice of a qualified foot health professional (podiatrist, chiropodist or foot health practitioner).

Over-the-counter treatments for corns, such as corn plasters are available but they do not treat the cause of the corn and may affect the normal, thinner skin surrounding the corn. Cutting to remove the hard skin with a blade yourself is not recommended.

Assessment and treatment

Contact the team for a consultation for assessment and treatment of corns.