What Is the Science Behind Foot Corns?

A corn or callus is the thickening of the skin on the feet because of constant pressure or friction. It causes hyperkeratosis, which is the increased thickness of the stratum corneum, the outer layer of the skin. It may cause chronic pain, especially in the forefoot, and in severe cases may even cause sores. A podiatrist will recommend non-invasive treatment plans for corns, but in acute cases, corn removal surgery may be needed.

corn removal surgery

Why Do Corns Form?

Our body is constantly trying to protect us from trauma. It sees any pressure, friction or discomfort, on or to the feet, as trauma and starts taking steps to protect it at once. If the cause of the problem, like a tight shoe or a foot deformity, is not addressed immediately, the layers keep getting thicker ultimately forming a callus.

Corns usually affect people who:

  • Have some form of foot deformity
  • Walk bare-feet constantly
  • Regularly wear tight or ill-fitting shoes
  • Suffer from certain chronic conditions/diseases like RA (rheumatoid arthritis), diabetes, etc.

When Do Corns Become a Problem?

Quite often, a person may not even notice that he is developing corns, till the corn or callus gets tender or sensitive to touch or pressure. If still ignored, cracks or fissures can form, causing infection and further complications.

Also Read: 5 Common Foot Problems

Treatment and Prevention of Corns

  • A regular foot soak can help in softening a corn that is already present and also prevent future corns.
  • Gently scraping the corn with a pumice stone or emery board will remove dead tissue and lessen the hardness of the skin.
  • Applying a moisturizer to the corn or callus and surrounding dead skin every day can help.
  • Applying medicated corn pads to protect the corn or callus from irritation will relieve pain and pressure.
  • Wear proper well-fitting footwear.
  • Trim your nails regularly to prevent toe callus.

Consulting a podiatrist regularly to keep an eye on your foot health, especially if you are a diabetic, is a good idea. Remember that your feet carry you all day, every day, and you need to look after them.


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