Corns are actually calluses that develop on the feet due to pressure or increased friction from wearing shoes. The skin thickens in response to this friction as a defensive mechanism, but this buildup of hardened skin can become painful. Corns often occur on the outside of the small toe where it rubs against a shoe. However, it can also occur on the top or even in between the toes.
Identify the Cause
It is important to identify the cause of the friction or pressure. Perhaps a pair of new shoes or maybe the combination of socks and shoes is causing the problem. According to podiatrists at epodiatry.com, removing the source of the friction is the most important treatment. Even if the corn is removed from other treatments, it will return if the source is not identified.
Small pads made for cushioning a corn can be purchased at a drug store. These donut-shaped pads are applied over the corn to protect it from pressure and friction. This often allows the pain to be relieved and gives the corn time to shrink, explains the Mayo Clinic.
Remove the Skin
Soaking the affected foot in warm water to soften the thickened skin and then rubbing off some of the skin with a wash cloth or pumice stone is one treatment. This is a gradual process, as only a small amount of skin should be removed at one time. It may take a week or two to see results.
When other measures do not bring full relief, a doctor may choose to trim the corn with a scalpel. An antibiotic ointment may be used to prevent infection and the toe padded as it heals.
Salicylic acid is sometimes used in conjunction with padding or trimming. This is often sold along with the corn pads and is applied as a small sticky disc to the top of the corn. Within 24 to 48 hours the hardened skin will be soft and easily peeled away.
Those with foot deformities, such as hammer toes or bunions, are more prone to excessive pressure and friction from shoes. If one of these is an underlying cause, it is important to address this issue with a medical doctor.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that those with diabetes should always talk with their doctor if they are having any foot pain. If infection is suspected, it is best to see a doctor.