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Corns: When Pesky Becomes Painful

Corns may seem like a minor inconvenience, something not worth going to the doctor for. Yet corns often cause severe pain and interfere with your active lifestyle, even when they are very small. Calluses, which can also cause pain when left untreated, frequently accompany corns.

Simply put, a corn is a thickening of the skin that forms in a pressure area of the foot. “Hyperkeratosis” is the medical term for this thickening process. Corns are generally conical or circular in shape and are dry, waxy or translucent. They have knobby cores that point inward and can exert pressure on a nerve, causing sharp pain.

While calluses are relatively simple to treat, corns are tricky. Consulting a competent Philadelphia area foot and ankle specialist is the best way to deal with this pesky problem.


Where Corns Typically Grow:

  • On the sole of your foot, usually on the metatarsal arch (the fleshy area between the toes and the arch).
  • On the outside of the pinky or small toe, particularly where the shoe rubs.
  • On the top of the toes.
  • Between the toes. When corns occur here, they are different in that they are softer, whiter and messier because of the increased moisture. These are sometimes called soft corns.


In general, corns are the body’s reaction to friction or pressure on your foot. They develop as a defense against the pressure.
 
What Causes Corns to Develop:

  • Hammertoe or other deformities of the toe that cause friction or pressure
  • Bony growths of the foot, such as bunions
  • Walking or running regularly on hard surfaces
  • Abnormal walking patterns
  • Ill-fitting footwear
     

Proper treatment of corns is important for your overall comfort and health. While there are several over-the-counter remedies available, many of them lead to even bigger problems. For example, the drugstore offers many products that use salicylic acid. The salicylic acid dissolves the keratin that makes up the corn and the dead layer of skin on top of it. However, for some people this acid causes burns and infections that are worse than the corn itself.
 
When to Seek Treatment:

  • The corns significantly impact your walking, running and other daily activities.
  • You have fragile skin, which can break and cause infection.
  • You suffer from diabetes or peripheral arterial disease, which puts you at even greater risk of complications from infection.


The Tri-state area podiatrists at Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates offer integrated healthcare for you and your feet. We pride ourselves on our ability to set you up for a lifetime of walking. Call us today to see what we can do for you.

Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates

Media Office: 610-565-3668

Exton Office: 610-269-4610

Phoenixville Office: 610-933-8644