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Corns are harmless, aren’t they?

Checking feet for Corns and other foot related issues

Corns are incredibly common, with most people bearing one or two at some point in their lives. They’re not a life-threatening condition; however, they can still cause a lot of pain and even affect your mobility if left untreated.

What are corns?

These small, round entities are simply hardened skin. How ‘hard’ the skin is depends—some corns can be quite flexible while others can feel so ingrained in your feet that it hurts to touch or move them. This is when they become a problem.

How do they appear?

Different Business shoes

Corns tend to appear in the parts of your feet that see the most friction, i.e. where your skin has been able to rub against a material again and again, or as a result of your foot being unnaturally compressed over a period of time. The top layers of skin harden in reaction to the friction, in a bid to stop further damage to the area.

This is just one of the reasons why you should wear shoes that fit well, and which support your feet—shoes that are too loose can be a problem, as is footwear that’s too tight.

Corns are less likely to appear if you wear socks, as they prevent the skin on your feet coming into direct contact with any abrasive materials within your footwear.

What makes them become painful?

Soft corns are unlikely to give you much trouble. A good soak of your feet in warm water then rubbing the corn with a pumice stone should remove the tougher layers of skin. Make sure you moisturise your feet afterwards to soothe the skin as well as keep it soft.

If the corn is ignored and the skin allowed to further harden/stiffen, it can become bigger and deeper in nature. Not only will the skin above the surface continue to be irritated by your footwear, causing discomfort, the ‘eye’ of the corn could become deep enough to reach the nerves in your foot. If this happens, any movement of the corn could press on a nerve, which will prove painful—this could even have an impact on your mobility until the corn is properly dealt with.

Can hard corns be removed?

Surgery to remove corns from feet

You can try the same approach as described above for soft corns, though you may experience some pain if the corn is large/deep. Even removing a few layers of skin from the corn at a time may see you eventually eradicating it from your foot, so it’s worth repeating the exercise on a regular basis. In the meantime, you can buy corn pads that should protect the area from any further friction and cushion the skin.

If the corn is particularly deep, it may need cutting out. We fully emphasise that this should be done by a podiatrist or medical professional, in order to prevent any unnecessary nerve damage and to ensure it’s as painless a procedure as possible.

Do corns come back?

It depends on you. If you don’t change your footwear and the friction continues to occur, it’s possible that the whole sequence will start again.

Sometimes, a corn is the result of underlying bone spurts that have made the natural contour of your feet in that specific area to be ever-so-slightly out of shape; the skin is therefore ‘pushed’ in and against your shoe’s material by the bone underneath, causing friction. In these cases, you should seek to have the spurt surgically removed.


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