Corns are hard, thickened, conical mounts of dead skin that form in the areas of the foot that is subject to friction. Medically referred to as heloma, corns are formed due to accumulation of layers of skin over a bony prominence. The formation of the thickened pads of skin is basically a response of the body to provide protection against the friction. While some of these may be hard-to-touch, some might manifest in the form of soft lesions. Unlike hard corns that form over a bony prominence, a soft corn usually develops between the toes.
Medically referred to as Heloma molle, soft corns occur as a result of friction between two toes. Wearing ill-fitting shoes, especially the ones with a narrow toe is often the reason behind the formation of soft lesions between the toes. Structural foot abnormalities could also be the reason behind recurrence of such lesions. These look similar to open sores, and are painful and tender to touch.
Fluid might ooze from these lesions, causing the affected area to remain moist. Wearing closed, pointy shoes that don't provide enough toe space, puts pressure on the toes, thereby causing friction between the toes. If left untreated, these lesions can also get infected. Therefore, a podiatrist must be consulted for their removal.
While one can follow certain self-care measures for reducing pressure between the toes, surgical intervention might be required in case of people affected by a structural foot abnormality.
While hardened pads of dead skin over the bony prominence can be pared with the help of a scalpel, this might not work for soft lesions. If a lesion has developed between the fourth and the fifth toe due to the abnormal structure of the bone, a small incision will have to be made in the affected toe to shorten the deformed bone that is causing irritation.
The incision will then be closed by stitches. Scraping off the bone of the fourth and fifth phalanges might also create more space between the toes, thereby preventing friction. At times, the skin between the toes might get badly damaged. In such cases, a procedure called syndactylism is generally performed. This involves the removal of the skin and sewing together of the fourth and fifth toe.
While surgery might be recommended for the treatment of this foot condition, certain self-care measures can also help in reducing friction between the toes.
- First of all, one must always wear right-sized shoes.
- It would be best to sparingly wear pointy, high-heeled shoes that cause the cramming of toes.
- Make sure that the footwear has enough toe space.
- The footwear must provide proper arch support so that pressure is well-distributed.
- Those who often develop lesions between their toes will benefit by wearing corn pads or foam cushions. This will prevent the toes from rubbing against each other.
- Since the skin between the toes can get affected due to presence of moisture, one can sprinkle talcum powder between the toes.
- One can also topically apply creams for reducing the inflammation.
- Soaking one's feet in an Epsom salt solution might help. However, make sure that you dry the skin very gently. The skin between the toes must never be scratched or rubbed.
- One can also apply aloe vera gel over the area. This will surely soothe the affected area.
Though following the aforementioned remedies and precautionary measures might help, it would be best to consult a podiatrist for prompt treatment.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.