What is a corn on the foot?
A corn is a hard, yellow lump of skin that usually grows on the feet. They grow because of stress and pressure on the skin, but are not considered a skin disease. However, sometimes they can develop infections and affect your daily activities.
Symptoms of corns
Symptoms of a hard corn on your feet may include:
They grow on the baby toe, on tops of the toes, on bony lumps, or on toe joints.
Soft corns are softer lumps in the skin, usually between the toes. Symptoms of soft corns may include:
Causes of corns
Corns are caused by pressure or rubbing on the skin. Extra skin and keratin grows to protect against sores. As the skin and keratin build up, corns grow and can cause pain and difficulty walking.
A number of factors can cause corns on the foot, including:
- Bony lumps on your toes
- How you walk
- Poorly-fitting shoes
- High-heeled shoes
- Bone structure of your foot
Who can get corns
Poorly-fitting shoes are the most common cause of corns. People who wear shoes that are too tight or too small may develop corns. Corns also commonly develop on toes that have bony lumps, that curl under, or have a hammertoe deformity.
People with darker skin and older people could be more likely to develop corns. People who wear high heels or narrower shoes may also be more likely to develop corns.
Diagnosis for corns
Your doctor may perform other tests to check for bone problems or other underlying factors. These may include:
- Dermoscopy, to examine the skin under a dermatoscope
- X-Rays to examine bone structure
- Pressure test of the feet
Treatment for a corn on your foot
Your doctor may suggest you manage the corn on your foot with treatment at home.
These can be applied to the affected area and act as a softening corn treatment, but you must follow directions closely as these products can damage the healthy skin around the corn. You may also take pain relief medication to ease the pain.
Home care and alternatives remedies
You can also manage the corn on your foot with at home treatment. You can:
- Wear thick, cushioned socks
- Wear wider shoes
- Wear comfortable shoes with a low heel
- Soak your foot in warm water to soften the corn
- Use heel pads in your shoes
- Use soft insoles in your shoes
- Remove hard skin with a pumice or foot file
- Moisturize your feet to keep the skin soft
Your doctor may recommend orthotics, specialized orthopedic shoes, or toe spacers to help take pressure and friction off your toes and the corns.
Your doctor may perform minor procedures for the corn on your foot as part of treatment. These may include shaving away the corn, which reduces pressure and may help relieve pain. You may need to soak your foot in warm water and trim the skin regularly with a pumice stone after this procedure. They may also recommend laser removal.
Complications of corns
Corns are not a serious problem, however complications can develop. You should seek medical attention if:
- Dark patches appear under the corn
- Blood, pus, or discharge ooze out of the corn
- It doesn’t improve after three weeks of home treatment
- The pain is so severe you can’t do normal activities
- You have diabetes, heart disease, or circulation problems
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Family Physician: "Corns and Calluses Resulting from Mechanical Hyperkeratosis."
Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School: "Calluses and corns."
National Health Service: "Corns and calluses."