Corns and calluses are among the most common skin problems of the foot. If a particular area of the skin is subjected to repeated pressure and friction, that area gets accumulated with skin cells called keratinocytes. These cells stick together firmly and die, to form a thick patch of dead skin cells. Such patches are called calluses. Corns are nothing other than calluses that are conical in shape. Formation of corns and calluses can be explained as the body's defense mechanism to protect the skin from repeated pressure and friction.
Corns are mainly found on the sides of the foot, on top of the toe joints, and in between the toes. They may also develop on the ball of the foot. Unlike calluses, corns have a funnel-like, conical core that can exert pressure on the nerves lying beneath it. This may cause pain and discomfort. In the long term, such corns can cause tissue damage and even ulcers that may also develop infection. So it is always better to prevent the condition. Here is a brief overview about the various options for foot corn removal.
How to Remove Foot Corns
So it is the repeated pressure or friction that causes foot corns. If that can be avoided, the corn may gradually go away on its own. However, if the corn is very large, painful, or infected, it is advisable to consult a podiatrist. One of the recommended remedies for corn removal at home is daily soaking and scrubbing.
Soak and Scrub
- Soak your feet in lukewarm, soapy water for at least twenty minutes.
- Gently scrub the corn with a pumice stone, to remove the dead skin cells.
- Diabetics should use a washcloth instead of a pumice stone, as they are more prone to infections from scrapes and cuts.
- If the corn is in between the toes, you may use an emery board for scrubbing.
- Once done, rinse the foot with water. Pat dry, and apply a foot cream to soften the corn.
- Repeat the procedure daily, and the foot corn will disappear gradually.
You cannot expect immediate results, if you choose this method. However, the corn will get removed gradually. You are not supposed to overdo scrubbing, which may end up harming the skin.
Non-medicated OTC Products
There is a wide range of over-the-counter foot corn removal products. They include medicated as well as non-medicated products, like pads, wraps, plasters and ointments. Non-medicated pads are useful for reducing pressure on the corn, as they provide a cushion-like effect. However, it is said that certain types of corn pads exert more pressure on the corns. So horseshoe-shaped or donut-shaped corn-pads are usually recommended, to avoid direct pressure. If the corns are in between the toes, use toe-spacers to avoid pressure and friction. You may also use a soft insole for relieving pressure on the corn.
These non-medicated products may be useful for reducing the pain and discomfort caused by foot corns. However, it cannot be said that they are really effective for foot corn removal. You may also get products, like corn knives and blades that are meant for trimming corns and calluses. Use of such products are also not recommended by experts. It is said that trimming the corn on your own, may result in uneven surfaces, which could trigger further accumulation of keratinocytes. Another concern is with regard to diabetics, and those with poor blood circulation. They have higher chances of forming ulcers from minor cuts.
Medicated OTC Products
Over-the-counter corn removal products with medication are claimed to be safe. However, such products are not usually recommended by healthcare professionals. It is said that most of these products contain chemicals that can harm the normal skin. Some of these products may cause a burning sensation in the skin around the corn. The skin may turn red, and start peeling. Usually, these symptoms subside within a few days. Sometimes, an infection may also develop, thereby causing severe pain and discharge. Diabetics must avoid such products, as they may cause formation of ulcers in the foot. The ulcers may get infected and sometimes, lead to amputation. Those with very sensitive skin or poor blood circulation, must also avoid using medicated products for removing foot corns.
Visit a Podiatrist
A podiatrist is the best person to evaluate the condition, and suggest the proper method of treatment. If there is an underlying cause, like a problem of the bone structure, it has to be diagnosed and treated, if you want to prevent recurrence of foot corns. Some people require surgical correction of the foot deformity. You can also get the corn removed by the podiatrist. Those with diabetes and poor blood circulation, must visit a podiatrist, for safe removal of corns.
In short, simple corns and calluses are not a matter of concern, and is mostly considered a cosmetic problem. You may try the soak and scrub method, to get it removed. However, corns may cause severe pain and discomfort in some people. In such cases, it is better to seek the advise of a podiatrist, rather than trying home remedies and OTC products. The best thing one can do is to take proper precautions to avoid corns and calluses. The most common cause for this skin condition is ill-fitting shoes. So throw away ill-fitting footwear. Avoid those with very high heels. Go for those, which provide support, cushioning, and enough room for the toes to move. If wrong posture is the underlying cause, improve the posture. Above all, keep the skin soft and supple.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.