A corn is a thick growth of skin on the foot that forms as a natural means of protection from excessive pressure and friction. Although similar to calluses, they are different in terms of location and appearance. Corns can be caused by poorly-fitting shoes and not wearing socks, and can often be painful when pressed upon. Treatment involves lifestyle changes, medication--even surgery--but before taking that latter step, many try home remedies first.
A corn typically begins as an area of hardened skin that can often bumpy, flaky or tender. As the corn takes shape, it takes on a hard, rough center surrounding skin that has become inflamed. Unlike calluses, which typically appear under pressure points on the feet such as the heel or the ball, a corn will generally form on or around the tops or the sides of the toes, and at times in between them as well. Although calluses are generally painless, corns are typically painful when pressed upon, making them a highly uncomfortable condition.
Your doctor may recommend the use of over-the-counter medications such as salicylic acid, which works by removing the layers of the corn over time. They can be found in the form of medicated pads, and are often used in conjunction with a pumice stone to file down the corn as the medication begins to work. It should be noted, however, that salicylic acid can irritate and damage healthy skin, the risk of which is increased if you suffer from diabetes or poor circulation.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
In addition to the over-the-counter medications, a number of simple lifestyle changes and home remedies can help alleviate the pain associated with a corn. One way to remove calluses is through trimming it down using a scalpel. This is often done in a doctor's office; however, an alternative is frequent soaking in warm water, then rubbing the corn with a pumice stone after bathing--though this not be done by those with diabetes, as it could increase the risk of infection.
Long-term treatment and prevention comes in the form of wearing clean, comfortable socks and properly-fitting shoes. This should be done not only during treatment, but following treatment as well so as to prevent corns and even callouses from returning. In the event that the corn is caused by a foot deformity, padded shoe inserts may be worn to help correct it.