If you spend long hours on your feet at work, you have probably experienced a painful corn. While these inflamed nodules of callused skin on the feet are not usually serious, they can be extremely irritating—and if you don’t take care of your feet, there’s a good chance they’ll keep coming back.

Interestingly, the number one cause of corns is easy to fix: poorly fitting shoes. Studies have found that approximately 88 percent of women wear shoes that are the wrong size for their feet, and, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, a similar proportion of people wear running shoes that are too small. Ill-fitting shoes can cause pressure and friction on the toes, heel, and sides of the foot. Your foot reacts by building a lump of skin to absorb the pressure and protect your feet.

Choosing the right shoes is an effective treatment for corns in runners—and it can work for you, too. Keep these corn prevention tips in mind when buying your next pair of shoes:

  • Fit.Your shoes should have about half an inch of room between the longest toe and the tip end of the shoe. 
  • Width. If you have wide feet, always buy shoes with larger-width soles. The shoe should hold your foot securely in place, without feeling tight.
  • Time of day. Feet expand throughout the day, so it’s best to try on shoes in the evening.
  • Heel height. High heels are not a good idea if you are prone to foot problems. Opt for flats or ergonomic sandals whenever possible.
  • Socks. Before you go shopping, put on socks that are appropriate for the shoes you’ll be buying. Running shoes should be tried on with athletic socks, dress shoes with dress socks, etc.
  • Walk around.Ten minutes of walking around the store should give you enough time to find out if the heel rubs or the toe pinches. 
  • Break them in gradually.Always break in new shoes by wearing them in short periods before regular use. Wear dress shoes around the house to break them in, and break in athletic shoes during shorter gym sessions.

If your corn has not improved despite your best efforts, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia podiatrist as soon as possible. The team at Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates has two convenient locations, making it easy for our patients to get the care they need.

Call us today at our Media office at 610-565-3668 or in Phoenixville at 610-933-8644 for an over-the-phone consultation. For more tips on taking great care of your feet, click the link on this page to order our FREE book The Foot Is Not an Island: Recognizing Vitamin D Deficiency & How to Correct It.