SKIN & HAIR

How to Treat Corns on Feet: Home and Medical Remedies

Corns are not dangerous, they are the body's demands to friction and pressure.

Use a pumice stone, which is a porous piece of volcanic rock, to file layers of dead skin.

You should see a doctor when the corn becomes large in size, painful or sensitive.

D
Dr. Jyoti Mishra
November 20th, 2020
6 mins read

Corns are thick, hardened areas of skin that generally show up as bumps on the feet and in between the toes. Corns are not dangerous and, in fact, are your body’s response to pressure and friction. Although corns are very common, they can cause irritation and may be sensitive and painful too. So, when you experience corn on the foot, rather than ignore it, it is best to pursue corn treatment.

Luckily, corns aren’t just generally self-diagnosable, they are usually self-treatable too. A pumice stone, warm water, and corn pads may just do the trick for you. Since corns arise due to pressure and friction, alongside home remedies, efforts to prevent corns on feet may be the way to put your best foot forward.

Here is what you need to know about foot corn treatment and its causes.

What is corn?

In scientific terminology, corn goes by the name heloma. Corns are thickened layers of skin that generally develop on the feet. However, corn is different from a callus. A callus is more diffused, while corn on the foot has a more defined area and is generally harder and more painful too.

Corns are of 3 types

Hard corns
  • Layers of hard skin with a limited focal area and dense centre
  • Usually develop on flat, dry areas such as the tops and sides of toes
Soft corns
  • Greyish and rubbery in appearance and texture, and commonly found in between the toes
  • They remain soft because of the moisture they are exposed to
Seed corns
  • Tiny in size but can be very painful
  • Commonly show up on weight-bearing areas such as the underside of the feet

Corns on feet may appear in areas such as:

  • The tips, tops, and sides of toes
  • In between the toes
  • On the bottom of the foot
  • Under toenails

In short, corn in the leg can appear wherever there is pressure and friction. For this reason, corns are commonly found in athletes and women who wear footwear with unequal pressure points.

Ways to prevent corns on feet

Corns are not a form of skin disease. They are just the way your skin reacts to pressure and friction over a period of time. Hence tactics like avoiding high-heeled shoes or wearing socks work aim at reducing the source of friction. Here are the tips:

Wear shoes that fit well

Finding shoes that do not cause friction against your skin is a way to avoid corns. Pick something that isn’t too loose or tight. Experts suggest that one way to buy the right shoes is to shop for them in person at the end of the day, when your feet may be more swollen.

Cut your toenails

Long toenails can cause pressure between your toes and your shoes, eventually leading to corns.

Use socks and padding

Socks, corn pads, bandages, and in-soles work towards reducing pressure and friction. So, you can use them to prevent corns.

Use socks and padding

Regular cleansing and scrubbing can reduce the build-up of dead skin cells and hence, the formation of corns. Soap, water, a scrub brush, and a moisturiser to reduce friction will work well.

DIY corn treatment techniques

Here are some home remedies you can try to address corns.

Slough away with a pumice stone

The preliminary step here is to soak the corn in warm water for 10-15 minutes. This is so that the skin softens. Then, use a pumice stone, which is a porous piece of volcanic rock, to file layers of dead skin. In case the corn is in between the toes, you can use a nail file or emery board instead. You can repeat this process for a few weeks until the corn disappears. However, be on guard against over-filling, which can cause irritation, bleeding, and infection.

Soften the skin with salicylic acid

You can purchase OTC products like lotions and moisturisers that contain salicylic acid to treat corns. These products can be applied to corn directly. The salicylic acid in these creams helps break down the skin cells of the corn. You can even consider corn pads containing salicylic acid. The salicylic acid makes the skin easier to scrape and, once again, you can use a pumice stone for the purpose. Your corn may disappear within 14 days. Keep in mind that the use of salicylic acid, however, can harm healthy areas of the foot and cause irritation and burning. Hence, you should take this route under the advice of a doctor.

Corn removal with a doctor

Experts recommend that cutting or shaving of corn be reserved for doctors only. This is because you risk developing an infection, should the corn cutting go wrong. Doctors may use a scalpel to remove dead skin or may even apply a laser to treat the corn. Surgical treatment of corns is possible and may be necessary in case corn is pressing against a nerve or if the corns are arising due to a problem of bone structure.

During your visit to the doctor, you may discuss normal methods like scraping, padding, and shoe inserts to remove or reduce corns. Your doctor will also recommend whether you can use products containing salicylic acid, urea, hydrocolloid, and silver nitrate.

Should you see a doctor for corn on foot?

You should see a doctor when the corn becomes large in size, painful, sensitive or when regular home remedies do not work. Pus formation is another sign that you need to see the doctor. Keep in mind that diseases like diabetes and peripheral arterial disease can cause foot problems and so, if there is any circulatory issue you are dealing with, it is best to contact a doctor before you set out on adopting home treatments. You should take a similar approach if you have fragile skin.

With a doctor on your side, corn treatment shouldn’t usually pose a hassle and your corns should disappear in time. Involving a doctor in your decisions becomes easy when you have the best healthcare platform provided by Bajaj Finserv Health. It lets you search for relevant doctors in your vicinity, book appointments online, consult via video, store your health records digitally, keep track of your medication and so much more. Prioritise your health and start a healthy lifestyle.

 

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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