Why do my corns keep coming back?Apr 20, 2021
This is by far one of the most common questions asked in South Dublin Podiatry Clinic and this blog aims to answer exactly that.
But firstly, what is a corn?
Corns are dense ball-shaped patches of dead skin cells and can occur in
many different areas on the foot. There are three types of corns that are most often seen in clinic;
- A hard corn,
- A soft corn
- A seed corn.
A hard corn usually occurs on the underside
of your foot as well as the tops of your toes.
Hard corns, as the name suggests, are thicker and denser.
A soft corn is whitish in appearance and occurs between the toes, normally between the fourth and fifth.
The surface of a soft corn is much thinner and more rubbery in its presentation.
Finally the seed corn is the smallest in size and is often seen on the ball of your foot, sometimes between the skin creases of your big toe joint and the second toe joint.
Seed corns usually appear in clusters and can cause a burning type sensation for the average patient.
Hard and soft corns on the other hand (or foot!) cause more of a sharp pain that increases over time if left untreated.
So, what causes corns?
Rubbing, friction and mainly pressure are the reasons for corns developing and reoccurring.
Anything that increases this friction and pressure will increase your risk of developing corns.
Ill fitting or tight fitting footwear is the main contributing factor and that is why women are four times more likely than men to develop corns.
Research tells us that most women wear shoes 2 sizes too small while mean wear them 1 size too big.
High heeled footwear puts immense pressure, rubbing and friction on all different areas of the foot so if worn on a regular basis the chances of the corn returning, even after treatment, is very very likely.
Other causes include foot deformities such as bunions and hammer toes.
It is very common to have a corn present on a bunion due to the rubbing and pressure of the bunion within the shoe.
Hammer toes usually lead to corns developing on the top of your toes if there is not enough depth in the toe box of the patient’s shoe.
Coming into summertime even wearing slip on sandals can lead to additional friction and pressure on your feet, resulting in corns and foot calluses.
How do I treat my corn?
Corn removal is a simple and should be a pain free way of immediately relieving yourself of the corn.
Padding can then be applied around the corn to give the area relief when going back into footwear for the following day or two.
For more tricky corns between or around the toes, a custom wedge device can be made in clinic to wear whilst in footwear to offload areas of high pressure/rubbing.
There are many treatments offered in other outlets, one that mainly sticks out is the use of corn pads.
Corn pads have a dose of acid within the plaster that aims to dislodge the corn so it may fall out.
Unfortunately, too often as podiatrists we have seen the acid cause harm to healthy surrounding tissues with not much success in treating the corn itself.
As a result we strongly recommend you do not use corn plasters to help avoid ulceration.
The most important thing to understand is what is causing your corn to develop in the first place... and after initial corn removal, the changes needed to allow your feet to be finally corn free!