What are corns?
One of the most frustrating foot problems corns are a skin disease that form on top of the skin due to physical actions that take place on the surface of the skin. Friction and unusual pressure that is consistently applied over the same spot on the skin are the prime causes for developing corns. The repeated applying of pressure and friction causes the skin to develop a thickening of dead skin cells on that particular area. The graduated thickening over time gives rise to a spherical or conical shape which is termed as a corn. Corns can be immensely frustrating, annoying and painful little buggers for performing even the simplest activities that involves the use of feet. However, calluses that are a different yet much similar skin problem look very much alike as corns and shouldn’t be confused with it. A callus has more flat and spread thickening while a corn is more localized as if like a pimple or acne. Although, often usually, corns and calluses go hand in hand when mentioned as a skin problem and are given the collective medical term for both – ‘hyperkeratosis’.
There are three types of corns
- Soft corns are those that usually occur between toes and are soft when felt with fingers.
- Hard corns, on the contrary, are those that occur everywhere else and are hard to touch.
- The third type, ‘seed corns‘ are clusters of tiny corns that usually occur at the bottom of the feet.
What causes corns on your feet?
As said earlier, corns are caused by physical factors that act on the surface of skin such as fiction and excessive pressure. Apart from that, a number of lifestyle factors like incorrect postures, walking styles, shoes that don’t fit properly and wearing of high heels greatly increase the chances of developing corns.
How to diagnose a corn?
Corns can be often confused with warts which require different treatment than corns. If the thickened patch of skin is at a place where there is subjection of pressure and friction, chances are more for it to be either a corn or a callus whereas if the thickening is at an unexplained spot where no pressure is applied usually, it can be a wart. The person must seek medical advice to get the proper diagnosis for the thickening as there can be risks associated with that meager and harmless looking thickening of skin. (Always visit the doctor for anything that’s inexplicable).
What are the risks associated with corns?
The average person who has corn thinks that simply cutting off the dead thickened skin will do as the treatment for corn but sometimes, cutting off the corn can cause it to bleed which in turn can cause infection. A discharge of pus can mean the corn is already infected. In both cases, the person should go and seek medical help.
What are the treatments for corns?
The primary treatment for corns as advised by a doctor will initially include shaving or cutting off the dead skin, change of shoes, use of moisturizing cream. If the pain while walking is bothersome then a moleskin pad can be used so that the person can resume with his day to day activities. Certain medical fluids and oral antibiotics can also help in getting relieved from corns. In case of a corn which has pus, regular drainage of pus by making a cut in the corn and squeezing it out might be necessary. It is only in rare cases that the patient may require surgery for a severe form of corn.
How to prevent corns from developing in the first place?
The prevention is much simple; avoid the main cause of corn which is excessive pressure and friction at a particular spot. Wear shoes that aren’t uncomfortably tight when you might have to go for long walks. Buy shoes of proper size so that after wearing then with socks you are able to wiggle your toes. Usually the cause of corns lies with something to do with shoes. If walking or standing postures are so that they put too much load on a small area of the foot and have already caused thickening there then bring the required changes in your posture. Women are advised to not wear high heels for much too long if they want to avoid foot problems corns. So, keep these tips in mind and lead a “corn-free” life.