As hard as it is to believe, corns are actually your skin’s defence mechanism when it tries to protect itself against friction, pressure and constant rubbing. The problem is that once a corn is formed, it looks ugly and sometimes becomes painful and sore. These thick, hardened areas of skin can make walking painful and often appear on the sole or ball of the foot, the tops of the toes, the outside of the small toe (where footwear rubs against it), and between the smallest toe and its neighbor.
But don’t worry! Corn removal is often easy as there is an array of home treatments and remedies available.
There are three different types of corns - a hard corn, which is a small patch of thickened, hard skin with a small plug of skin in the centre; a soft corn, which has a thinner surface, looks white and rubbery or red and tender, and usually develops between the toes; and seed corns, a painful cluster of tiny corns that often appears on the heel or ball of the foot.
Why corns develop
Corns can be caused by the way a person walks, their gait, their tight shoes that don’t fit properly, or by certain types of shoe materials and styles (such as high heels or shoes made of a non-breathable material), which force more pressure onto a particular area of the foot.
They occur more frequently in people with bony feet, as they don’t have as much natural cushioning as other kinds of feet do. They are also common among people who wear shoes without socks (which causes friction on the feet), or they can develop as a symptom of another foot problem, such as a bunion or hammer toe.
There are steps you can take to help protect your feet from the pain and soreness of corns, such as drying them thoroughly after washing them and applying a cream specially developed for the feet. Regularly using a product to remove hard skin will protect your feet from corns, as will choosing comfortable shoes that fit you properly and limiting how often you wear high heels.
Tips for corn removal
There are plenty of home treatment options when it comes to corn removal, and they fall into two categories – medicated products that wear down the thickened, dead skin to remove it, and products that ease pain by reducing pressure on the corn.
Both have their upsides, and are often more suited for one type of corn than another.
The Scholl Foot Care Complete Corn Treatment is an effective way to tackle the corns on your feet. The system mechanically removes the top layer of the corn, softening what is left underneath.
There are a range of plaster-based corn removal treatments available, which offer both targeted treatment and pain relief, as they ease pressure on the corn. Gel plasters are invisible and give instant relief from pain. These are only particularly suitable for hard corns, since the outer shield protects from friction and rubbing. Meanwhile, the soft gel cushions and adds moisture, which makes corn removal easier.
Foam cushions don’t necessarily cure the problem but they prevent pressure and friction caused by shoes, while corn removal plasters and medicated corn plasters use salicylic acid (which softens the top layer of dead skin so it’s easier to remove) to break down the corn. This provides a cushion for immediate pressure relief and protecting the healthy skin around your corns.
If you’re suffering with corns on your toes, use a thin and adjustable foam toe separator to protect tender, corn-affected areas between them. The Foam Toe Protector relieves the pain caused by corns on tender toes.