Corns are small lumps of hard skin on the toes, especially over the bony prominences, or on the sides of the feet. They are caused by friction or continual pressure from poorly fitting shoes. The constant rubbing causes a layer of thickened skin to develop which is gradually pushed inwards to form a nucleus or core. It eventually becomes painful when this core presses on a nerve.
There are several types of corn, of which the most common are the hard corn, soft corn and seed corn. A hard corn is a raised shiny dome of whitish or pale yellow thickened skin with a hard cone-shaped centre. It has no root and usually develops on top of the toe joints.
A soft corn appears in the damp area between the toes where the skin surfaces rub together. It is paler and softer than a hard corn. A seed corn is similar in structure but is found on the heel or ball of the foot where the skin can be dry and not very elastic. It is the least painful of the three and often feels like grit in the skin.
To ease discomfort you can soften the hard skin with one of the corn treatments available. Preparations for treating corns usually contain keratolytics such as salicylic acid, to encourage the layer of hardened skin cells to peel off. Be careful to keep any of these solvents off the skin surrounding the corn. If solvent accidentally gets on the normal skin, wash it off immediately.
When treating corns between the toes, hold the toes apart until the solvent has completely dried – putting cotton wool between the toes is a good way of doing this. To prevent further pressure on the corns, buy some small spongy rubber rings to put around them. Beware of corn plasters -if applied incorrectly, they can do more harm than good.
If you frequently have painful corns, it is best to visit a chiropodist.
People with diabetes should always consult their doctor about foot problems, since they are more likely to pick up infections in these sore areas. Because diabetic sufferers tend to have poor circulation, they should avoid wearing tight socks or shoes which could reduce the blood flow to the feet.
We all need to look after our feet – an incredible 90% of all foot problems are caused by wearing ill-fitting or the ‘wrong’ shoes, so do take time to choose new shoes carefully.
Carnation Corncaps, Cupal Corn Solvent and Pads, Freezone Liquid, Salatac Gel
Lanes Balto Foot Balm