Corns

Corns can become painful if not treated appropriately.

Like calluses, corns are thickened areas of skin are usually hard and circular-shaped, with a polished or translucent centre, like the kernel of corn from which they take their name. They may become painfully inflamed in response to persistent excessive pressure or friction, or infected and ulcerated when they rub against one another.

 Corn

A corn is an excessive growth of skin that forms in response to excessive pressure and friction. They are one of the ways in which the body protects its skin, or the structures beneath it, from injury.

The excessive pressure causes a mechanical  irritation to the underlying deepest layer of the Epitheliem. The Epidermal Junction and the cells at this level, the Basal cells, in response start to produce more skin cells. These extra skin cells then migrate to the most superficial surface of the skin and start to stack up with other extra cells. The normal 14 day to surface and 14 day to exfoliate skin cells cycle is prolonged and the cells continue to be made in excessive numbers.  A Corn is simply stacked up dead, excessive skin cells that unlike Callus, can’t grow/stack up on top of the skin, but stack up/migrate into the surface of the skin, producing pain as they start to push deeper and squeeze underlying nerve structures.

A corn is an excessive growth of skin that forms in response to excessive pressure and friction. They are one of the ways in which the body protects its skin, or the structures beneath it, from injury.

The excessive pressure causes a mechanical irritation to the underlying deepest layer of the Epitheliem. The Epidermal Junction and the cells at this level, the Basal cells in response start to produce more skin cells. These extra skin cells then migrate to the most superficial surface of the skin and start to stack up with other extra cells. The normal 14 day to surface and 14 day to exfoliate skin cells cycle is prolonged and the cells continue to be made in excessive numbers.  A Corn that is simply stacked up dead, excessive skin cells that unlike Callus, can’t grow/ stack up, on top of the skin, but stack up/migrate into the surface of the skin, producing pain as they start to push deeper and squeeze underlying nerve structures.

There are two types of corns. The first and most common on the tops and tips of the toes, and along the sides of the feet. These are known as heloma durum or hard corns. They are caused primarily by improper-fitting shoes and toe deformities. The second type develops between the toes and is sometimes referred to a "kissing corn". Physicians call them as helloma molle or soft corns. They usually are the result of slightly different bone abnormalities in the toes.

Heloma Durum (Hard Corns)
In many people, the toes do not lie flat, but instead curl downward. This wouldn't present a problem if the person always walked barefoot. However, trying to fit curled toes into shoes with tight toe boxes is one of the main reasons why hard corns develop. The toes remain curled inside the shoe, and the tops of toes press against the inside of the shoe, usually right at the toe joints. Additionally, the tip of the curled toe presses against the sole of the shoe. Neither of these areas is configured to sustain the forces this places on them. As a result, the skin compensates by thickening at the point of contact and heloma durums develop to protect the underlying structure damage.

Heloma Molle (Soft Corns)
Heloma molles can develop between any two toes but typically occur between the fourth and fifth. They form when one of the toe bones (phalanges) is slightly too wide. Normal phalanges are hourglass-shaped, with their tips wider than the middle.  Kissing corns result when the ends of the toe bones are too wide, causing friction in the interspace between the toes. A soft corn often develops because of this irritation. The problem can easily be aggravated by tight-fitting shoes. Even people with normal-shaped toe bones can develop soft corns. This condition is especially common in women who wear high-heel shoes, which shift the body's weight to the front of the foot, thereby cramming the toes into a narrow, tapering toe box.

 

Heloma Durum (Hard Corns)
Because hard corns usually are caused by a combination of narrow-toed shoes and toe deformities, they can be treated in two ways. One is to wear wider shoes, even sandals, when possible. The other is to fix the bone problem in the toes.

A toe may be held in an abnormal position because the soft tissue around the bones has grown stiff.   If the soft tissues can be released, the toe may straighten.

Heloma Molle (Soft Corns)
People with soft corns caused by excessively wide toe bones can switch to wider shoes with more room between the toes. Usually, however, this is not very successful. A new surgical procedure that can be done in the physician's office holds promise for soft corn sufferers. In it, the podiatrist makes a small incision in the skin of the toe and then grinds down the piece of bone that is causing the irritation. A couple of stitches are all that is needed to close the incision. The procedure is very quick, the recovery time is short, and most patients obtain relief almost immediately.

Although surgery may seem excessive to relieve the discomfort of corns, the only other option is have them cut or burned off with a topical acid solution or plaster when they become too painful. Unfortunately, this does nothing to relieve the underlying problem that caused the corns in the first place and can often cause a chemically induced wound that becomes infected and painful.

“ Personally,  I think medicated corn pads should be banned. I have witnessed patients suffering from PVD, reduced blood supply to their feet, suffer toe and lower limb amputation after unknowingly using medicated corn pads to treat their corns. They are dangerous.”  Mr S R Edwards, FNZCPS.

Corn TreatmentCorn treatment 01

Corns are produced by pressure so the removal of that pressure will help alleviate the pain that can be associated with the corn and the formation of the corn.

Check you shoes, make sure that they fit the shape of your foot, often a simple change from a “pointy” shaped shoe to a round toed, foot shaped shoe is all that is required to give relief.

If you are still in pain, please take my advice, see a Podiatrist or give my rooms a call so that we can offer you safe and sensible advise. Remember, burning or freezing corns doesn’t help, it will only hurt and risk infection and the corn will return.

For further advice or to make an appointment, please contact one of our professional team, our numbers and contact details are listed on the Contact page.